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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Arts and Entertainment
Sister Cristina Scuccia sings 'Like a Virgin' in Venice
music

Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice

Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
i100
Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

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?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Let's talk about loss

    We need to talk about loss

    Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album