Barrhead Travel has reported a record year of sales despite a “dent in consumer confidence” following the Brexit vote.
The company’s gross turnover was up £12.7 million to £279.2 million in 2016.
Forward bookings were up 8% year-on-year and Barrhead forecasts that 2017 will return a further improved performance.
Pre-tax profits in the year to the end of 2016 fell slightly to £2.8 million, down £300,000 on 2015.
This decline reflected a £500,000 investment in Barrhead’s new Newcastle store, it said, as well as a further £350,000 invested in customer-facing technology.
The group also referenced a significant investment in the development of its new Training Academy in Glasgow city centre.
Barrhead’s top selling destinations in 2016 were Costa Blanca, Lanzarote, Palma, Tenerife and Orlando, with Florida the top long-haul destination. There were also large year-on-year increases in travellers to Cuba, up 76%; New York, up 49%; Thailand, up 48%; Costa Dorada, up 34%; and Calgary, up 29%.
Chief executive Sharon Munro said: “Despite the continuing challenging economic climate and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, we have seen both excellent growth and performance in 2016 resulting in a record sales year for the company and continued healthy operating profits.”
Barrhead opened experiential travel shops in Newcastle last year and another in Leicester this year. Staff numbers have now broken through the 1,000 mark and the business is on track to recruit 85 new staff members, mainly destination specialists, across its network including at its Glasgow headquarters by the end of 2017.
Barrhead will open more stores in prime locations throughout the UK in 2018, but has not yet revealed locations.