Dawson and Sanderson says Holiday Bookings Back on Track

Dawson and Sanderson says holiday bookings back on track as it narrows losses. The high street travel specialist said it expects to return to profit this year.

Travel agency Dawson & Sanderson says trading is now exceeding pre-pandemic levels after reporting a second successive loss.

New accounts for the Newcastle-based business, which employs 220 people across a network of 21 branches, show it narrowed losses in the 18 months between the start of September 2020 and the end of February 2022. The documents show operating losses of £2.4m compared with £2.5m in the prior 12 month period and a pre-tax loss of £1.2m compared with £2.7m previously,

Dawson & Sanderson managing director Annelene Hutton said the accounts cover a period in which the travel industry more broadly was badly affected by Covid restrictions and that trading had been in line with competitors.

Speaking to The Journal earlier this year, Dawson & Sanderson said this January had been a bumper month as customers raced to book holidays they had missed out on. Joint managing director and retail director Jan Fawcett said many eager holidaymakers were choosing higher value trips across “bucket list” destinations and despite cost-of-living concerns in the economy, customers were keen not to give up summer holidays.

In September last year the family-owned firm announced a restructuring of its operations following a difficult period in which former auditors Greaves Grindle resigned after it emerged the travel specialist’s accounts for the year to the end of August 2020 had been filed without having been audited. Northumbria Police recently confirmed there was an ongoing investigation after concerns of a financial nature were raised by the company.

Ms Hutton said: “These latest financial results represent an unprecedented period in time. A period in which most of the travel industry was shut down by a global pandemic, with only some partial reopening between lockdowns. Nobody in the travel business was making money during this time.

The travel industry is now recovering from the most difficult trading period in its history. Dawson & Sanderson’s trading during that period has been in line with that of competitors, industry and other parts of the leisure and lifestyle market.

“More encouragingly, during the last 12 months we have restructured the company, building on the core values of the family run organisation, to take the business forward in a post-Covid era. Trading during the last 12 months has been strong and is now exceeding pre-Covid levels which will see the business report profits for the year ending March 2023. We are confident we will continue to grow the business and keep the true core values and our position in the North East holiday market.

“We are currently recruiting for a number of vacancies to strengthen and support our growth plan. We continue to look at developing our branch network and have recently launched a new digital sales division.”

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