Turnover falls at Ultimate Leisure

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Ultimate Leisure has reported a 10 per cent fall in turnover as it continues to face tough conditions for late night operators.The company is seeing...

Ultimate Leisure has reported a 10 per cent fall in turnover as it continues to face tough conditions for late night operators.

The company is seeing new players encroach on its traditional late night territory in the wake of licensing reform, but believes its investment plans for the business will turn the tide.

In the year to the end of June, turnover fell 10.8 per cent to £32.5m. Pre-tax profits before exceptional items were also down sharply to £1.5m, from £8.4m a year ago.

The year saw the purchase of the Prohibition bar brand from Living Ventures, which the company has plans to roll out nationally. Four further Prohibition sites are planned for the current financial year.

Ultimate blamed competition from rival operators taking advantage of the new licensing laws to extend their hours for a downturn at many of its sites.

Plans include further investment in food sales, which doubled across the year, albeit from an historically very low level, as well as making premium bars more female friendly.

Chairman Mark Jones acknowledged that tough trading has continued across the summer, but said: "These results are in line with the guidance we gave in January and reflect both the difficult trading environment that our sector has experienced and the start of our transformation of the group.

"We have a core estate of highly attractive assets and brands and the much needed investment in these is now well underway."

He added that the benefits of the investment plans will take time to come through, but "the board remains confident that this programme will deliver value to shareholders in the future."

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