A month after publishing its pandemic-affected preliminarily results, Rank Group published its annual report that revealed the recovery of its Mecca brand is underway with a focus on Cat B3 and C helping to increase expenditure per visit by 20 percent.
Category B3 and C machines have helped Rank Group’s Mecca brand increase spend per visit by 20 percent despite visits still being down 34 percent on pre-pandemic figures.
Across the Mecca estate, the recovery is underway but like-for-like revenue is still down 21 percent on the same 13-week period in 2019 since reopening on 17 May. Average weekly revenue sits at £2.6m, slightly ahead of the bingo brand’s break-even level of £2.4m.
“A stronger gaming machine estate with a renewal of some of the category B3 and C machines have helped drive this increase in expenditure per visit,” said CEO John O’Reilly in Rank Group’s latest annual report. “The challenge for Mecca is the confidence levels amongst our older customer cohorts to return to indoor hospitality whilst pandemic case numbers remain high and vaccine protection levels remain uncertain.”
The recent news about booster jabs for more vulnerable members of society could help with this uncertainty, but it will take more than a shot in the arm to make up for the effect of lockdowns and restrictions. Rank’s venues businesses, which typically account for 79 percent of Group revenue, were closed for 59 percent of available operating days, during which time the management team took decisive action to protect the business and to prepare for the post-pandemic opportunities.
The key priorities have been to ensure the Group has sufficient liquidity and to continue the successful development of proprietary technology platforms to drive sustained digital growth. O’Reilly also identified the importance that all growth is sustainable, particularly when it comes to providing a safe gambling experience. The group has been fully engaged with the government’s review of gambling legislation, with the CEO commenting that outdated gaming legislation has restricted the operator’s ability to better meet the needs of its customers in retail venues.