Leger Shearings is on target to report a record January with the highest monthly sales since the group was formed in mid-2020.
Leger Holidays, which bought the Shearings’ brand in June 2020 following the coach group’s collapse, said this month’s bookings were already 217% higher than January 2021.
Travel agent sales so far for this month were 334% up on last January and were getting closer to January 2020 levels, prior to the acquisition of Shearings, according to the company.
Sales for the third week of January, from January 17 to 23, have also set a record weekly high, 19% up on the group’s previous weekly high in February last year, which followed the government’s announcement of a roadmap out of lockdown.
Chief executive Liam Race said consumer confidence had returned following news the Omicron variant “wasn’t as harmful as initially feared” and the decision to scrap most UK testing requirements.
He said: “The removal of testing whilst abroad in order to return to the UK we know is a huge relief to our customers. The fear of having to isolate in a foreign country was certainly having an impact on booking confidence, specifically on our target demographic and the nature of our fully escorted tours.”
He called the sales upturn “very encouraging”, adding: “Hopefully the travel industry has finally turned a corner.
“Last Thursday, January 20, was a record sales day for our business with the week also being a record, it was 19% better than any week in our history – the best prior week was the week commencing February 22, 2021.
“Last week (January 17–23) also represented the best sales week for the Shearings’ brand since acquisition and our best Leger sales week since the week commencing February 17, 2020.
“Momentum has continued into this week, and we are currently set for a record January. Pleasingly, we are also seeing a real upturn in agent sales which are 334% up against last January and starting to get closer to January 2020 levels.”
The group said UK sales were still strong, with the southwest coast, Yorkshire, the Lake District and Scotland selling particularly well, specifically for March to May holidays.
In Europe, Italy, Austria, France and Ireland were the current best sellers. Most bookings so far this month have been for summer holidays between June and August but the company has also enjoyed some late bookings for February and March, while 2023 sales were also starting to increase. Bookings for 2023 currently account for just over 10% of sales.