Shearings grows with Setras
Shearings Group has invested £10.5m in 38 new Setras in what is set to be the last major UK order for the Setra brand. They are to be delivered early in the New Year. The deal follows on from the delivery of 30 Setras and a major lease financing agreement earlier this year. These latest new vehicles will take its fleet to 240 coaches, of which 200 are less than four years old. The investment is on the back of further growth in customer volumes and forward bookings.
Shearings, which also operates 50 hotels under the Bay and Coast & Country brands, said it planned to accelerate its investment in room and facilities upgrades across its hotel portfolio to £5m during 2014. This follows £3.6m of investment in the current year, during which time occupancy levels have reached over 90%, their highest since 2008.
Following a record 1m passengers last year, the Group expects customer volumes to increase by a further 2-3% in the current year. It also reported 2014 bookings were currently over 10% ahead of the same time last year. Sales of UK and European Grand Tourer breaks from its Shearings Holidays brand were said to have played a major part in the growth story, while the strong British summer drove positive sales for its National Holidays brand. New products in 2014 include additions to its premium Grand Tourer programme such as escorted tours of the Spanish gardens, Ireland’s country houses and the history of south-east Italy, while new river cruises include trips along the Danube and to Europe’s battlefields. It also said that its trips to Highclere Castle, the setting of TV hit Downton Abbey, were proving popular.
Chief Executive of Shearings Group, Denis Wormwell, said, ‘Our continuing focus on providing great value and exciting new holiday product across our programmes has kept our customers loyal and attracted thousands of new people to our portfolio of brands. Similarly our multi-brand strategy, and ability to serve the UK and overseas markets with short and long breaks with such a wide range of product, gives us an even bigger market to address across a demographic that continues to expand. While conditions remain challenging, this has given us the confidence to continue our investment through 2013 and accelerate our commitment further next year, making sure we deliver ever greater quality to our growing customer base.’