Staycationing 'boost for Butlins'

Butlings greencoatsJim Wileman/PA

The staycation effect boosted profits and sales at the owner of Butlins and Haven Holidays, it has been reported, helping the company deliver a £43.9 million dividend.

Bourne Leisure, which operates caravan parks and hotels under various brands, including Warner Leisure hotels, recorded a group turnover last year of £813.7 million, up 1.4%, said the Mail on Sunday.
The group, which saw profits rise 4% to £97.4 million, benefited from a rise in holidaymakers opting to stay in the UK for cheaper holidays rather than head abroad.

Directors reportedly said the improvement was due to increased margins, reduced interest on loans and repeat business, adding that the company continued to record high guest satisfaction ratings.

Bourne Leisure, based in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, spent £104 million on sites last year, including a new Butlins hotel at Bognor Regis, West Sussex, and improved swimming pools and entertainment complexes at its caravan parks.

The company, now the largest privately owned holiday operator in the UK employing 11,700 staff, was founded by accountant Peter Harris in the Sixties with one caravan park in Whitstable, Kent. He later expanded by buying Rank Group's holiday business.

Mr Harris, with partners David Allen and John Cook, was backed by Candover and Legal & General Ventures for the Rank deal, but he bought them out a few years later.

The three entrepreneurs and their families have received dividends of about £180 million since 2007, but have paid much of the profits back into capital expenditure on its sites.

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