Mecca Bingo owner Rank Group cuts full-year guidance
Gambling company Rank Group cut its full-year guidance on Thursday as it pointed to a softer performance in March and highlighted inflationary pressures.
For the year to 30 June, the group now expects EBIT of between £47m and £55m, down from previous guidance of £55m to £65m. This takes into account third-quarter trends, notably softness in its UK venues towards the end of the quarter and continued inflationary costs.
Rank said it was entering the fourth quarter at the start of a traditionally low seasonal period in its Grosvenor venues with visit numbers down. It expects to see an improvement in performance after April, but said it remains to be seen how the trends in the rate of return of office workers to city centres and overseas customers to London will develop towards the summer.
In an update for the quarter to the end of March, the company said group like-for-like net gaming revenues were up 221% on the same period a year ago to £156.4m. The company’s UK venues - Grosvenor and Mecca - were closed for the entirety of the third quarter of last year, while it Enracha venues in Spain were open for part of it but under very strict capacity restrictions.
Against the most recent comparable non-Covid affected Q3 period in 2019, Grosvenor and Mecca venues NGR were down 14% and 25%, respectively. The company attributed a softness in visits to its UK venues at the end of the quarter to a rise in new Covid cases reported across the UK.
The performance of its Enracha venues continued to recover, however, with NGR down just 2% compared to the same quarter in 2019.
Chief executive John O'Reilly said: "The performance of our venues softened in March, and this has continued into the first few weeks of Q4, impacting our current expectations for our full year performance.
"We recognise the pressures on UK consumers but are confident that the improvements we are continuing to make to the customer proposition and the investments in our venues, alongside the gradually reducing impact of the pandemic and, with it, the return of overseas customers, position us well for the year ahead."