Mecca Bingo visits down amid snow

Mecca Bingo visits down amid snow

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The number of visits to Mecca Bingo halls declined by 32% in the week to December 5, Rank said

Gaming group Rank has said the snowy weather caused the number of visitors to its Mecca Bingo halls to drop by nearly a third.

The number of visits to Mecca halls declined by 32% in the week to December 5 when the Arctic conditions brought much of Britain to a halt, according to Rank.

This dragged visits down by 5% in the nine weeks to December 5, marking a reverse of recent improvements in the bingo business.

Mecca reported earlier this year that the number of visits increased for the first time in more than a decade in the first half of 2010, helped by rebranding six of its halls to its new Full House format to attract a younger crowd.

The Mecca business has faced a number of difficulties in recent years, including the smoking ban, changes to legislation which restricted money-spinning gaming machines, a harsh tax regime and a squeeze on consumers in the recession.

Revenues at the 103 Mecca Bingo clubs declined by just 1% in the nine week period as customers spent 4% more per trip after the company improved its food and drink offer.

Despite the drop in visits to Mecca, the group saw like-for-like sales increase by 3% in the nine week period thanks to a better performance from Grosvenor Casinos and online gaming sites.

Grosvenor Casinos posted a 3% rise in like-for-like customer visits and 8% hike in revenues.

However, growth in visits to the 36 casinos also slowed in the past nine weeks, compared to a 6% increase in customer visits in the third quarter although spend per customer increased by 5%.

Rank has rebranded 13 casinos under its G Casino concept designed to attract those who want a night out as well as a bet, with plans to have 20 open by 2012.

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