Friday 21 September 2018

Mecca Bingo owner sees profits slide as customer visits dip

The decline came after like-for-like sales at Mecca Bingo fell 3%, with customer visits dropping 7%.

Rank profits rise
Rank profits rise

By Ravender Sembhy, Press Association City Editor

Profits at Mecca Bingo owner Rank Group tumbled in the first half of the year after its casinos and gaming venues saw declining sales.

The group, which also owns the Grosvenor Casinos chain, saw pre-tax profit fall 7% to £32.8 million in the six months to December 31.

The decline came after like-for-like sales at Mecca Bingo fell 3%, with customer visits dropping 7%

This was despite a push to reinvigorate the bingo scene, with “experiential” events such as Batty Bingo, Bonkers Bingo and Big Bingo Bash, as well as a bingo-themed mini-cruise in partnership with P&O Ferries.

Grosvenor booked a 1% dip against what Rank described as a “challenging consumer backdrop”.

Visits were down 7%, which the firm said was partly caused by refurbishment work in two London venues, with “ongoing customer due diligence controls” also affecting revenues.

Online was a bright spot, where revenue increased 16% to £60.6 million.

Group revenue was flat at £354.2 million but Rank said it remains confident that expectations for the full year will be met.

Boss Henry Birch struck an upbeat tone: “Along with much of the high street, we have faced a more challenging retail trading environment in the first half.

“2018 promises to be a busy year with continued positive changes, including the launch of a single account and wallet product across Grosvenor’s retail and digital businesses.

“We remain confident in the outlook for the group, with management’s expectations for the full year unchanged.”

Press Association

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