Festive spending cheers leisure industry

The leisure industry appears to have enjoyed a happy Christmas. Jarvis Hotels, the mid-market hotel operator, yesterday revealed that turnover had risen 23 per cent, and like-for-like sales were up more than a fifth, in the run up to Christmas and new year.

John Jarvis, chairman and chief executive of Jarvis Hotels, said: "Unlike some of the apparent high street retail experience, our customers seemed to determined to enjoy the holiday season."

The group has enjoyed bumper bookings due to the trend for firms which have had to cap wage rises instead rewarding employees with Christmas parties. There is also evidence of strong growth in the short break market, with more people going away for the festive period, especially between Boxing Day and the New Year.

Themed breaks such as walking holidays and murder mystery weekends are proving extremely popular as more Britons eschew a traditional family Christmas.

Jarvis is also close to making its first big acquisition after announcing it had a pounds 100m war chest at its disposal on unveiling its interim results in November.

"A deal is imminent. We are close to buying a major hotel with health and fitness centre in a big city. It will be the first of many acquisitions," said Mr Jarvis.

The good news is not confined to the hotel sector. Old English Pub Company, the pub and coaching inn operator, added to the good news, revealing that trading was buoyant in December, with like-for-like sales rising by 8.1 per cent thanks to a sharp rise in food sales. It had planned to sell 5,000 Christmas Day lunches but ended up selling more than a thousand extra.

Freeport Leisure, which runs factory outlets and leisure villages, also had a storming Christmas. "It has been an excellent Christmas, with all our sites performing strongly," said Sean Collidge, the group's chief executive.

Analysts believe that further evidence of Christmas strong trading in the pub and hotel industries should emerge later this week with Whitbread announcing a trading statement on Wednesday. The market will also be watching closely for comments from Thistle, the troubled hotel group which recently lost long-standing chief executive Robert Peel and is in need of a decent set of trading figures to calm investors' nerves. Diageo, the Grand Metropolitan and Guinness combine, could also give an update on sales and how the Far East financial turmoil has hit profits.

- Andrew Yates

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy as ECB finally wield the axe
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Finance Manager

Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Sheridan Maine: Regulatory Reporting Accountant

Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manager - (communications, testing, DM)

£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...

Guru Careers: Finance Account Manager

£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas