No full house at Rank as low customer numbers prompt profit warning

·2-min read
Fewer customers have returned to Grosvenor Casinos than expected, prompting its owner Rank Group to issue a profit warning.  (Rank Group)
Fewer customers have returned to Grosvenor Casinos than expected, prompting its owner Rank Group to issue a profit warning. (Rank Group)

Casino and bingo hall owner Rank Group has issued a significant profit warning as the hoped-for return of customers to its London venues has been lower than expected.

The firm said it now predicts its like-for-like adjusted operating profits to be roughly £40 million for the year to end-June compared to the previously guided range of £47 million - £55 million.

The steep drop was blamed partly on the fact visitor numbers at its Grosvenorcasinos in particular had been down in 2022, and that in spite of some improvement since April, the hoped-for recovery had been “considerably weaker than expected”.

This was mainly due to a dearth of higher spending overseas customers to its London sites, but beyond that, the firm has witnessed lower visitor numbers at its Mecca Bingo sites across the rest of the country, and a higher number of wins by the customers it does have.

Share in the compnay dropped more than 14% to 85p in early trading, and have now almost halved year-to-date.

The update will come as a blow to the firm, which returned to profitability in the first half of its financial year.

In the six months to 31 December last year, pre-tax profits hit £102 million, a huge swing back from the £59.4 million loss in the same period in 2020 when lockdown restrictions were significantly impacting its business.

In its latest update, the firm said its other divisions, which include a range of online bingo sites and the Spanish business Enracha, which has venues and websites, were performing broadly in line with expectations.

Rank, whose history stretches back to 1937 when it was involved in the film industry, will announce its full-year results on 18 August. Rank sold Odeon Cinemas and Pinewood Studios in 2000 as part of a major restructuring.

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