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The UK’s fastest growing private companies: Hot 100 2015 – (58) Barrhead Travel

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Name: Barrhead Travel 
Industry/sector: Leisure and travel
Date founded: 1975
The boss: Jacqueline Dobson
Location: Scotland
Latest turnover: £83.2m
Three-year compound growth rate (%): 37.87
Latest EBITDA: £1.4m

The privately-owned firm increased revenues by 21 per cent in 2014, to a record of £240m, up from £197m in the previous year.

Munro said much of the recent growth in sales was due to the company’s move to increase its presence in shopping areas by opening more travel stores. Barrhead Travel opened six new shops in 2014, including one at Braehead shopping centre. Its website lists 30 stores in Scotland and one in Cumbria.

Barrhead Travel is preparing to open a fifth store in Edinburgh and is eyeing three more sites in the city. The company also plans to open a store in Glasgow’s St Enoch Centre in April, which will predominately sell flights.

However, Munro mentioned that Barrhead Travel may reach a point where it has a critical mass of shops in Scotland, beyond which it will be hard to expand. “We are very much looking towards England,” he said.

He added: “We think expansion in England is where we will have to be in five, ten years time.” 

Munro noted that many people who live in Scotland fly on holiday from Newcastle and Manchester airports. By opening shops in such areas it may be easier for the company to win the business of such travellers.

Furthermore, Barrhead has been winning more flight business after striking deals to sell seats for a growing range of airlines. The company negotiated a partnership with Turkish Airlines in 2014, under which the firms offer bespoke travel packages and exclusive rates.

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