Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Leading caravan park owner looks to double in size
The Newcastle company, which has more than 2,000 staff, is already the UK’s third biggest caravan park operator after Park Resorts and Butlins’ operator Bourne, but believes it can now reach its longheld target of running 40 sites within four or five years as the UK holiday market grows.
Parkdean said it has seen sales rise again from £120m last year and profits jump from £31.5m as more holidaymakers head to its 24 sites across the country.
Chief executive John Waterworth said: “I think the future is looking particularly strong for the UK holiday market at the moment.
“People are realising how easy it is to holiday at home and it has been an even better season than last year. We are seeing a lot of people going for weekend breaks as well as the one big summer holiday.”
He says the company’s growth has been fuelled by the popularity of booking trips direct with the company, either through its Gosforth call centre or online, as opposed to buying caravans.
And this means the business, the second most profitable in its sector, can start to buy more sites and build up its 24-strong portfolio.
Many of its sites are in the South West, particularly after it bought Exeter-based Weststar Holidays three years ago and it is now looking elsewhere.
Although this is unlikely to include many sites in the North East. It currently has none in the region and Waterworth says most here are too small for its business model. Its smallest has 150 caravans and its biggest in Porthcawl in Wales is the biggest in Britain with 2,000 plots.
Waterworth said he had hoped to grow earlier but the economic downturn and uncertainty about where people would spend made him cautious of moving too fast.