Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Caravan firm eyes recovery signs

Caravan and motor home retailer Discover Leisure has its sales' decline is slowing

Caravan and motor home retailer Discover Leisure has posted a £16.7 million loss but said that the decline in sales of its vehicles was slowing.

Revenues fell from £135.8 million to £84.4 million in the year to August 31, after the closure of 11 branches and a "fundamental decline in sales as consumer confidence fell dramatically".

A major restructuring plan recently saw the group agree a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) with its lenders regarding repayment of debts over a certain time period. If the CVA and restructuring had been unsuccessful, the firm faced administration.

The leisure industry retailer said the results for the first two months of the new financial year were "encouraging" and said it is looking forward to a "better 2010".

Chairman David Morrow said: "We have made a reasonable and brave decision to protect the company as best we can. We have put in place a restructuring plan and we have achieved all the objectives.

"As far as the famous green shoots of recovery are concerned there are a couple of them around. In the tourer market in the past two or three months sales are down by 7%, that is compared to the peak drop of 55% in January. Because stocks are very short, manufacturers for the first time are lifting production. Last year for the first three months of the financial year we were holding 62 orders for the following year. This year we are holding 313."

The firm, which is based in North Newbald, near Hull, said that after the CVA was agreed relations with manufacturers and suppliers were "stabilised relatively quickly".

The company said good progress has been made in the disposal of seven surplus sites. Sites in Wrexham and Carlisle were sold before the end of the financial year, generating proceeds of £350,000.

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