Friday 22 May 2020

Shearings / National Holidays Collapse

The owner of Shearings, the coach holidays provider, has crashed into administration, resulting in the immediate loss of 2,500 jobs and thousands of customers' holidays being cancelled.

EY, the administrator to Specialist Leisure Group (SLG), confirmed late on Friday afternoon that it had made redundant more than 2,000 staff who had been furloughed under the government's job retention scheme.

The grim news adds to the fast-growing toll of job losses across the economy as the coronavirus crisis continues to wreak havoc with industries such as leisure and travel.

SLG's operations include brands such as National Holidays, UK Breakaways, Coast & Country Hotels, Bay Hotels, Country Living Hotels, and Wallace Arnold Travel, has ceased trading with immediate effect.

The hotel chains (see below) will not reopen following the insolvency.

In a statement, EY said it had tried to find a buyer to maintain the travel group as a going concern but that it had not been possible.

It added that "the vast majority of customers" were expected to have financial protection from one of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, Bonded Coach Holidays, ATOL or ABTA, or through their credit or debit card issuer.

Sky News reported last month that SLG was on the brink of collapse as its main lender, Lloyds Banking Group, and owner - the US-based private equity firm Lone Star Funds - tried to stitch together a rescue deal.

"The group has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as all tours, trips and events have been cancelled and the hotels closed to the public, leading to a significant cash shortfall," Sam Woodward, the joint administrator, said.

"Our immediate priority is to advise and support those employees and customers that have been impacted by the group's insolvency.

"We are making every effort to contact all customers, who have had their bookings cancelled as a result of the administrations or COVID-19, with information to assist them in making a claim.

"Customers should be assured that claims do not need to be submitted immediately and refunds will continue to be accepted for up to six months.

SLG traces its origins to the establishment of the Happiways escorted tours operation in 1903.

Shearings Holidays is one of the most prominent coach tour operators in the UK, serving more than 170 destinations in the UK, Europe and further afield.

The business was set up by Herbert Shearing, and marked its centenary last year.

Lone Star became the owner of the group through a wider portfolio of assets it took control of in 2015.

The Texas-based private equity firm has explored a sale of the business on previous occasions.

Lloyds and Lone Star Funds declined to comment.

Bay Hotels
  • Bay Dilkhusa Grand Hotel, Ilfracombe
  • Bay Carlton Hotel, Great Yarmouth
  • Bay Prince of Wales Hotel, Berkeley
  • Bay Great Western Hotel, Oban
  • Bay Highland Hotel, Strathpeffer
  • Bay Royal Whitby Hotel, Whitby
  • Bay Tarbet Hotel, Loch Lomond
  • Bay Broadway Park Hotel, Sandown
  • Bay Marina Hotel, Newquay
  • Bay Majestic Bournemouth Hotel, Bournemouth
  • Bay Eden Arms Hotel, Rushyford
  • Bay Majestic Eastbourne Hotel, Eastbourne
  • Bay Grand Hotel, Exmouth
  • Bay Marine Hotel, Llandudno
  • Bay Royal Weymouth Hotel, Weymouth
  • Bay Caledonian Hotel, Fort William
  • Bay New Southlands Hotel, Scarborough
  • Bay Libertys Hotel, Blackpool
  • Bay Norbreck Hotel, Scarborough
  • Bay Torbay Hotel, Torquay
  • Bay Esplanade Hotel, Paignton
  • Bay St Ives Bay Hotel, St Ives
  • Bay Tor Park Hotel, Torquay
  • Bay Waverley Castle Hotel, Melrose
  • Bay Burlington Hotel, Eastbourne
  • Bay County Hotel, Llandudno
  • Bay Valley of Rocks Hotel, Lynton
  • Bay Beresford Hotel, Newquay
  • Bay Strathmore Hotel, Morecambe
  • Bay Savoy Hotel, Bournemouth
  • Bay Grand Atlantic Hotel, Weston-super-Mare

Coast & Country Hotels
  • The George Hotel, Chollerford
  • The Imperial Exmouth Hotel, Exmouth
  • The Golden Lion, Hunstanton
  • The Derwentwater Hotel, Keswick
  • The Pitlochry Hydro Hotel, Pitlochry
  • The Portpatrick Hotel, Portpatrick
  • The Ship & Castle Hotel, St Mawes
  • The Charlecote Pheasant, Stratford upon Avon
  • The Imperial Tenby, Tenby
  • The Grand Atlantic, Weston-super-Mare
  • The Windermere Hotel, Windermere

Country Living Hotels
  • Country Living Lansdown Grove, Bath
  • Country Living St George, Harrogate