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  • New premises to allow for future growth
  • The move receives financial support from Lancashire County Council, via Rosebud
  • Panache Cruises achieves sales of £3m in first year, despite international ban on travel
  • August proves to be the busiest month for sales since 2020 launch

Despite having to navigate some extremely challenging waters during the pandemic, Lancashire based Panache Cruises is celebrating a move to new business premises, based in Strawberry Fields Digital Hub in Chorley. 

The new offices will accommodate Panache Cruises’ current team of 15 with room for further expansion.

The move has been supported by a significant level of funding from Rosebud – a product managed by GC Business Finance on behalf of Lancashire County Council – which aims to support the growth of Lancashire businesses and therefore the local economy, by offering business loans ranging from £10,000 to £300,000.

Commenting on the funding, James Cole, Panache Cruises’ founder and managing director said: “We are extremely grateful for the support of both Lancashire County Council and the Rosebud fund.  The funding will allow us to continue to develop our business in line with our ambitious growth plans, as we move on from the challenges of the pandemic.”

Rosebud’s Fund Manager, Matt Robinson, added: “The success that Panache has seen in its first year of trading, despite the economic conditions, is remarkable but not a surprise. The business is led by a highly impressive and experienced management team with a track record of successfully building companies in this sector previously.”

“We are pleased to support another growing Lancashire-based business. The opening of the new Chorley office will hopefully be another catalyst for the business as international travel opens up.”

County Councillor Aidy Riggott – Lancashire County Council's Cabinet Member for Economic

Development and Growth, continued:  "It's always great to hear when funding from Rosebud has allowed a company to build on its obvious strengths and go to the next level.  In this case, it's particularly gratifying to see a Lancashire company, working in a sector which has been so badly impacted by the pandemic, continue to trade successfully and strengthen their investment in Chorley."

Cole is a long-time veteran of the cruise industry having worked in the sector for 20 plus years.  During his career he has set up and grown two £100m retail cruise businesses and launched his latest venture – Panache Cruises – in the midst of the pandemic last year, having developed the business plan during the first period of lockdown.

Panache Cruises’ ambition is to become the UK’s largest retailer of luxury cruises in the UK by 2027. Despite the significant impact of COVID 19 on the cruise industry, Cole says that the long-term growth prospects of the industry remain strong.

Cole says that against the backdrop of COVID 19, Panache Cruises exceeded its revenue projections for its first year, with more than 300 cruises booked with sales of £3m.

He adds: “Launching Panache Cruises was never about the short-term, it was all about the long-term growth opportunity. We know that cruise, especially the luxury sector, is due to grow significantly over the next five to ten years and our strategy is to grow with it.

“Whilst the pandemic has of course brought its challenges, it has also given us the opportunity to establish what is now a settled and experienced team, build strong connections with our cruise line partners and develop loyal relationships with customers who are really enjoying our content and beginning to trust us as their preferred cruise partner.

“Over 30 of our customers have booked more than one cruise with us, and we achieved 99 per cent 5-star reviews on Trustpilot. I believe we’re in great shape as Brits start cruising internationally once again”.

Looking ahead Cole says that the market for cruise is looking strong for 2022 and 2023 and that many of his customers are looking to spend more and travel further for their next holiday.   

The business also reported its strongest month for sales in August.

He added: “Having missed out on cruising for the last 18 months, British cruisers are keen to get back on-board and we are currently seeing a high level of interest for 2022 and 2023 cruises, with prices starting to rise and availability beginning to dwindle.   Many of our customers are taking advantage of the attractive offers currently on offer that provide flexible booking conditions and therefore alleviate any risks associated with booking now.”

Businesses interested in applying for Rosebud finance can do so via Applications for finance will be considered from businesses based in the administrative area of Lancashire County Council.

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