In the last couple of days Rank Group’s Mecca business has reported a 16% slide in annual profits.
Visits to Mecca’s 97 clubs dropped 7% to 12,607 in the year to June 30th, although this was an improvement on the 10% fall seen previously.
Mecca’s revenue across its venues and digital business decreased 3% to £288.2m during the 12 month period up until the end of June. This was down from £296.2m the year before.
Venues revenue of £229.3m was down 2% on the previous period. The decline in revenue was mostly driven by a fall in customer visits to its venues, Rank said.
Rank said it had undertaken a review of all venues, session by session, and concluded that certain offers were uncompetitive.
As a result, numerous initiatives were subsequently launched, focusing on improving value for money. These included the introduction of lower-priced sessions, a “refer a friend” reward programme and new food and beverage promotions.
The company has also received a boost in the form of halving bingo duty to 10%.
Despite the decline in visitor figures, Rank has already committed to 3 new venues, and is restarting its refurbishment programme as a result of the Budget move.
However Mecca seem to be getting the short straw by receiving just £4m of the available funds, due to uncertainty caused by poor trading in the first half of the year and disappointing returns from previous refits.
Last year, the chain scrapped plans for a major revamp programme, launched 4 years earlier to attract younger players. They admitted that results had been disappointing.
Just recently, the Mecca Bingo club in South Shields has been forced to close down, after the owners decided not to renew the lease.
So is the long term future in online bingo sites only? Or are dips in attendance at bingo clubs just a temporary trend?