Holidaybreak has reported a slightly smaller loss for the first half of its financial year than it did last year.

For the half year ending March 31, 2010, it lost £17.7 million, an improvement from an £18.1 million interim loss in March 2009.

Turnover decreased from £153.2 million to £150.2 million.

The group traditionally reports a loss for the first half of the year due to the seasonal nature of two of its four businesses – camping and education.

Chairman John Coleman said: “These results are encouraging. The strong focus on cash management has resulted in a £30.1 million reduction in net debt, compared with March 31, 2009.

“Sales intake relative to last year has improved, reflecting the fact that customers are booking later.

“We continue to look at ways of exploiting opportunities for investment in our education businesses while remaining focused on cash generation and cost control across the entire group.

“The board anticipates the group will perform in line with expectations for the year ending September 30.”

Sales in the education division were level with last year, the hotel division was 3% down, adventure travel 2% down and camping 2% up.

The company also declared that the volcanic eruption had “not had a material impact on the group’s overall financial performance”.