Rank Group identifies return to form for digital business in Q1 trading update

Rank Group has reported that its trading is ‘in line with expectations’, highlighting a return to growth for its digital business whilst its retail division has experienced significant expansion. 

Publishing its trading results for the period ending 30 September 2021, Rank revealed a 5% year-on-year increase in net gaming revenue growth for its digital business whilst its retail division saw NGR increase by 117% YoY.

Total group NGR grew 69% to £163.1 million, with digital operations growing by 4% to £38.2 million on the corresponding time period in 2020, whilst International Digital NGR grew by 11%, braving the hurdles of regulatory changes, which have prevented promotional offers from being made to new customers.

Meanwhile the firm’s Grovsnor, Mecca and Enracha retail venues saw uplift in trading, although revenue still fell short of the 2019/20 figures prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group explained that ‘London continues to feel the impact of reduced tourism,’ whilst outside of the English capital NGR is said to be ‘running at close to pre pandemic levels’.

John O’Reilly, Rank CEO, said: “We have seen an excellent response from our customers as they return to our venues, with our colleagues doing a great job in ensuring they are being properly entertained within a safe environment.”

Regarding its individual retail units, Rank has detailed that the performance of its other brands ‘was mixed’ with a combined casino and bingo NGR decline of 6%, largely due to growth in the casino business offset by drops in revenue for bingo products.

Land-based operations for the Grosvenor casino and Mecca bingo businesses saw earnings rise by 209% YoY and 41% YoY to reach revenues of £79.2 million and £34 million repeatedly, although each also witnessed a 20% and 22% decline when compared to figures from two years prior.

Again, this was largely attributed to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, whilst Mecca has seen visits from frequent customers fail to reach substantial levels, albeit alongside an a gradual increase in player numbers and revenue

Additionally, Enracha venues saw a 20% YoY rise in NGR, but again this was 21% lower than 2019/20 trading, with the easing of lockdown restrictions in Spain remaining a gradual process.

Moving forward, Rank predicts revenue for the year ending 30 June 2020 to be between £700 million and £750 million with EBIT of between £50 million and £75 million, with the expectation of fully open venues and a continued improved performance across all units.

O’Reilly added: “Whilst forecasting remains difficult as we emerge from the pandemic in an environment of volatile costs and numerous supply chain challenges, we are confident that trading will continue to improve across each of our businesses during the remainder of the year.”

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