Hays Travel franchise plans shop openings in northwest

Hays Travel franchise plans shop openings in northwest

Independent agency owner Don Bircham could open up to five shops a year across the northwest of England after seeing his business’s revenue grow by 25% in two years.

His agency chain, a Hays Travel franchisee, has increased its shops from 14 in 2014 to 22 this year.

It had a turnover of £36 million in 2014, £40 million in 2015 and 
is on track to hit £45 million this year, said Bircham.

The miniple, which operates Hays Travel branches in north Wales, Merseyside and Cheshire, had a franchise agreement with Tui until September 2014. That deal meant Bircham’s company, Just Go Travel, could not open a new shop within two miles of a Thomson branch.

After the Tui franchise ended, Hays Travel took a 40% stake in Just Go Travel, which saw all the branches rebranded Hays Travel.

Bircham said: “There aren’t any limits and we don’t have to hold back at all on our growth.

“There’s an opportunity for us to expand in the northwest. We’ve just opened in Chester, Warrington, Heswall and Allerton Road in Liverpool.

"I can see us opening up to five shops a year. The momentum is definitely there and we’re targeting market towns. We’ve added eight shops in two year, increased staff from 100 to 130 and increased our turnover.”

The older shops will eventually be refitted to give the chain a “consistent look”.

Bircham, who is also chief executive of Wrexham Football Club, said the mix of products sold had changed over the past two years. Previously, 60% of sales were for Tui products, but now it makes up 40%, with Jet2holidays and Hays’ own tour operation getting a higher share of business.

Bircham said he saw no reason why the chain could not expand to up to 50 shops, but added that it was important “to open in the right places at the right time, and not to rush”.

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