Argo Holidays is to produce an extra 75,000 brochures in January for the first time after an impressive start to 2007 sales.

The tour operator does not normally consider publishing more brochures until later in the year but following an unusually high level of calls it has decided to push ahead with the extra print runs.

“We have never done this before in January,” said marketing and sales director Kathryn Beadle. “We would normally leave it much later – but we are being asked for them by the trade and customers.”

The operator is already reporting a 20% hike in sales values this month along with strong sales for this summer and the current winter season. Beadle admitted the operator had not expected sales to take off until the third week of January.

“We have had a far better start to January than last year and the value of the holidays per person is so high. We expected the peaks to kick off in the third week in January,” she said. “We’re putting everyone on the phones to take bookings.”

She said the reason for the strong early sales could be linked to Argo’s core customers – discerning holiday-makers – being ready to book, compared to families on lower incomes who could be struggling financially in the post-Christmas period.

But she warned high sales had to be sustained during the peak season for the impact to be felt industry-wide. Sales could be hit when consumers start to receive increased utility bills following recent price rises, she added.

“We are only 11 days into January and we need the good sales to continue. Last year we had a good start and then late sales did not happen to the extent we wanted.”