Rank steadies ship in turbulent market conditions

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The Rank Group, which incorporates the Mecca and Grosvenor brands, has posted its half- year results for 2017/18, highlighting overall profit positivity amongst a turbulent land based market.

 

Rank Group’s financial results for the second half of the 2017 calendar year have shown that an increase in land based efficiency amongst a difficult high street environment and continued growth of its online brands are standing the company in good stead going forward.

For the six months to 31 December 2017 like-for-like revenue at the group stood at £378.1m, an increase of one percent on the period the year prior, whilst statutory revenues remained at a flat £354.2m

An increasingly difficult operational market saw overall like-for-like revenues of the group’s land-based premises drop by one percent, but increased venue efficiencies implemented by Rank saw the company report a nine-percent increase in venue profits for the period.

Henry Birch, chief executive of The Rank Group, said: “We are pleased to report a good set of results with adjusted profit before tax up 17 percent and a particularly strong digital performance, with revenues up 16 percent and operating profit up 56 percent, despite the introduction of new gaming duty rules on customer bonuses.”

Difficulties across landed operations extended to the recently launched Luda brand, designed to increase the group’s bingo footprint in the city-centre commercial space. These properties however were not able to combat the decrease in overall consumer spending, with the Walsall branched, launched last year, operating “below expectations”.

“Along with much of the high street, we have faced a more challenging retail trading environment in the first half, but our combined venues businesses delivered an impressive nine-percent growth in operating profit,” commented Birch.

“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 expectations for the full year unchanged,” he added.

Online continued to be a boon,counting a 16-percent increase in the period, helping operating profits soar by 56 percent to £11.4m.

Whilst land-based operating revenues may not have embarked on a period of growth the group decreased its corporate net debt in the period by £37m, to a positive cash position of £4m.

This announcement of positive cash holdings was something that chief financial officer, Clive Jennings commented was “probably the first time this has happened in anyone’s memory.”

Upon Jenning’s arrival at the company in 2000 Rank counted debts of more than £1bn, but he now believes that the group will be able to pay off its remaining £84m borrowing by March 2019.


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