Mecca Bingo owner Rank slumps to £101.2m loss as costs surge

Finance News

Rank Group has reported a loss of £101.2m for the six-month period ended 31 December 2022.

Venues LFL NGR of £236.6m declined 1% on the prior year. Grosvenor venues declined 5%, Mecca venues grew 4% and Enracha venues increased by 25%. Digital LFL NGR of £100.8m, up 9% with 9% growth in the UK and 9% growth in Spain.

Statutory Group operating loss of £101.0m includes £95.4m of impairment charges, reflecting soft trading in UK venues, and £7.3m of venues closure costs. The balance sheet remains strong with £148.4m of cash and available facilities.

John O’Reilly, Chief Executive of The Rank Group Plc said: “The recovery from the severe impact of the pandemic on our UK venues businesses, Grosvenor and Mecca, has certainly been slower than we anticipated. Since lockdown we have faced a huge increase in energy costs, high wage inflation, the slow return of overseas visitors to London and the increasing pressure on consumer’s discretionary income. We have also experienced a continued tightening of the regulatory environment, particularly in regards to affordability restrictions on customers. However, trading is improving as we invest in the quality of our products and properties, introduce new gaming concepts for our customers, reduce the level of intrusion in managing customer risk and reintroduce lapsed customers to the fun and excitement of our gaming experience.

“Our digital business is continuing to perform well and, with all our brands now operating on proprietary technology, we are very well placed to drive strong growth on the back of further improvements to our platforms and enhanced customer experiences both online and cross-channel. We are now in control of our future from a technology standpoint and have the vision and capability to deliver a market leading cross-channel customer experience in both Grosvenor and Mecca alongside strong and growing support brands in the UK and internationally.

“We experienced strong trading over the Christmas and New Year holiday period but recognise that the trading environment is likely to be challenging in the months ahead and cost pressures will continue to weigh heavily on the UK hospitality sector. We are driving efficiencies across our business whilst always ensuring that we are well placed in terms of the quality of our customer offering and the talent within the Group for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

“We continue to look forward to the publication of the UK Government’s gambling review white paper. Casino and bingo venues are in need of long overdue modernisation of outdated regulation which heavily restricts the customer proposition. This appears to be widely recognised within the debate surrounding the Government’s review and we are hopeful of a positive policy outcome followed by the much-needed rapid implementation of new regulation.

“Given the challenges we have faced, I am very grateful to my colleagues across the Group for their commitment to their customers and to the local communities they serve and for the progress we continue to make in the ongoing transformation of Rank.”