EXTRA: Rank Group Profit Falls Amid "Challenging" UK Retail Market

Mecca Bingo in Telford

Mecca Bingo in Telford

Updating the market, Rank would maintain group revenues of £754 million (1% increase), with the firm's venue division generating like-for-like revenues of £642 million (1% decrease).

Statutory revenues fell slightly from £708.5m to £707.2m and pre-tax profits declined to £79.7m from £85.5m.

FTSE 250-listed Rank, which operates the Grosvenor Casino and Mecca Bingo brands, said an increase in revenue from its digital business did not offset a fall in revenue from retail venues.

In the prior year, profit had been helped by a GBP10 million exceptional gain from the disposal of freehold buildings.

Revenue dipped to £707.2mln from £708.5mln with the company blaming a "challenging United Kingdom retail environment".

However, the group's United Kingdom digital business grew operating profit by 63 per cent from £13.9m to £22.7m on the back of a 15 per cent increase in revenue from £96.7m to £111.5m.

But the cost of running its physical Grosvenor Casino and Mecca Bingo Hall sites increased this year due to the introduction of a higher minimum wage and rent costs.

Rank in particular highlighted a stronger second half operating profit of GBP46.9 million, up from GBP36.6 million in the first half.

He said: "After a challenging first half of our financial year, we are very pleased with our second-half performance, especially with our digital business which delivered 63 per cent growth in operating profit for the year".

Shares fell 3.53% to 232p in morning trading. "We are excited about the roll-out of our new Luda bingo concept following the opening of the first venue on 7 August 2017", said Chief Executive Henry Birch in a statement. "The new financial year has started well and the board looks to the future with confidence", Birch added.

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