Fred Olsen Travel aims to double its profits in the next 18 months as it opens the first two of a planned string of shops in southern England.
The agency said it was taking advantage of a “renaissance of people returning to the high street” by opening the two branches, in Lymington, Hampshire, and Westbourne, Dorset.
The new locations, where rival agency Bath Travel also has stores, are Fred Olsen Travel’s first away from its East Anglia base and increase its network to 12 branches.
Steve Williams, managing director, revealed the agency was on the acquisition trail and was looking to invest more than £100,000 to open a “cluster of six or seven shops on the south coast”.
“This has been in the pipeline for quite some time,” Williams said. “The customer base on the south coast is very similar to what we have in Suffolk – a mature demographic and discerning customers.
“We won’t stop with two because I think a cluster works a lot better. I’m hopeful we will have six or seven shops in that area within the next 18 months.
“There is a renaissance of people coming back to the high street because they are fed up with online. However, you have to add value, and that’s what we do and why we’ve had five years of record trading.”
Williams said he would not have taken the plunge if he wasn’t passionate about the expansion plan. He believes he can double Fred Olsen Travel’s profits once all the planned stores have opened.
Commenting on rivalling Bath Travel, Williams said: “We have always been aware of what Bath Travel are all about and I’m a big admirer of what they do, so it’s exciting to be competing against them.”
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