Shock as Pontin's goes into administration

There were fears over the future of one of Britain's most iconic holiday brands today after Pontin's was put into administration.

In a surprise move, advisory firm KPMG was appointed administrator yesterday to the holiday company, which employs 850 staff in the UK.



No redundancies have been made and all five sites - Brean Sands in Somerset, Camber Sands, Sussex, Pakefield, Suffolk, Prestatyn Sands in Wales and Southport, Merseyside - will continue to cater for customers as normal.



KPMG said it was optimistic of finding a buyer and hoped the Pontin's name would live on. The business was started in 1946 by Fred Pontin and at one point had 30 holiday parks.



A spokeswoman for KPMG said the company had run out of cash because bookings had fallen drastically in the past year.



Pontin's slide into administration has come as a surprise as many UK holiday companies have benefited in recent years from more people taking holidays in the UK rather than abroad, because of the weak pound.



The administrators plan to appoint an "experienced leisure operator" to help them run the company until a buyer can be found and have pledged to honour all reservations.



Joint administrator Jane Moriarty said: "Pontin's is an iconic British brand which forms the backdrop to thousands of treasured family holiday memories.



"It has unfortunately struggled in the current economic environment but, with some support from new management, we are optimistic that it will be part of thousands of family memories in the years to come.



"From day one, we will be actively running Pontin's to ensure that our guests' holiday expectations are met."



Pontin's was started when Fred Pontin opened the first Pontin's Holiday Park in Brean Sands in 1946.



It is best known for its "blue coats" who offer entertainment and help to holidaymakers.



It organises entertainment for its guests featuring acts such as Keith Harris and Orville, Bobby Davro and Chico.



At one point, the Pontin's empire stretched to 30 parks and in 1978 it was bought by Coral for £56 million, according to its website.



The company was bought by Ocean Parks for £46 million in 2008, who closed a site in Blackpool last year.



Its website claims: "We have been offering outstanding value for money for over 60 years.



"But there is one thing that will never change at Pontin's: our promise to offer memorable, fun-filled family holidays for outstanding value for money."



Bob Atkinson, a travel expert at TravelSupermarket.com, said he was "amazed" that Pontin's had gone into administration, describing it as "an iconic British brand and a stalwart of the British holiday industry".



Mr Atkinson said the news was surprising because the boom in "staycation" holidays since the beginning of the economic downturn had generally benefited holiday parks like Pontin's.



He said: "If Pontin's were to close down it would remove a significant number of competitively-priced short breaks from the more economic end of the market."



Mr Atkinson said it was difficult to speculate as to the cause of Pontin's entering into administration but added that competition outside of the peak season may have damaged the company.



"Holidays and breaks out of peak season have often been sold at rock bottom rates, leaving companies with little room for healthy margins."



He urged the administrators to communicate clearly with customers who had booked holidays over the Christmas period.



KPMG has set up a helpline for people who have made bookings at Pontin's: 0844 576 8481.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

    £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

    Recruitment Genius: Developer

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Estates Contracts & Leases Manager

    £30000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Estates Team of this group ...

    Guru Careers: Brand Manager / Marketing Campaign Manager

    COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Brand Manager / Marketing Campaign Manager is req...

    Day In a Page

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future