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John Hays, 70, opened his first travel agency in Co Durham in 1980 and now has more than 180 shops and three call centres, which in 2018 booked £1bn of air travel, cruises and accommodation for the first time. The Sunderland-based business has been on an expansion drive in the past year, opening more than 40 branches, some co-owned with local entrepreneurs.

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Company details
CompanyHays Travel
ActivityTravel agency
Sales £m379.8
Operating profit £m9
Main shareholdersJohn Hays (49.99%), Irene Hays (50.01%)

If applicable:

* supplied by company   † annualised figure   ‡  profit = ebitda