Midlands Co-operative Travel has reported a record £285 million in travel sales for the year to January 23, 2010.

The sales boost on the £260 million recorded in the previous year was achieved in spite of the recession and came as the group focused on maximising passenger profit while growing higher-value sectors such as cruise.

The agency also reported growth in sales of dynamic packages, booking nearly 40,000 customers through its dynamic packaging brand Co-op Holidays.

A £45,000 investment in a new agency in Leicester further boosted sales.

Midlands Co-operative’s business travel sector also benefited from a restructure over the year, attracting new clients and setting up partnerships through its web-based operations.

For the Midlands Co-operative as a whole, the sales growth in the travel division helped drive an overall 8% growth in sales to £918 million. The group’s trading profits grew 16% to £18.9 million.

Chief executive Martyn Cheatle said: “We intend to continue the society’s established business strategy of consistent investment in core businesses, funded by strong operational cash flow, without significant borrowings.

“I am confident that this approach, along with the continued hard work and commitment of staff, will enable our society to continue to progress.

“However, all customer-facing businesses will be affected by the uncertain outlook for 2010; factors such as the general election, tax increases and unemployment are a major concern and will impact customer confidence.”