An interim trading report from Rank has some good news for the company’s future. It’s showing improved trading figures. According to the report, trading was down on the same period as last year (prior to the introduction of the smoking ban) as was expected. On like-for-like sales there was a drop of 14%, admissions down 13% and spend per head down %1. The good news is they have seen an improvement in trading on the period at the end of last year. In the last 17 weeks of 2007 like-for-like sales were down 17.3%.
It’s also interesting to note that in Scotland, where the ban has been in place since 2006, the report says that like-for-like sales are “marginally ahead” on the same period as last year. Whilst both these figures are down on the pre-smoking ban levels, it shows an small improvement, and hopefully marks a turning point for the company in its quest to improve revenues for the group. Strategically, going forward Rank hopes to increase its revenues by focusing on both old and new customers. It says, “We are focused on growing the number of visits to our businesses by rewarding loyal customers, reaching out to engage with new customers and raising standards of service and product for all customers.” Sounds like a top notch plan to me.
There is also some really good news in the area of premises. According to the report there are no more new openings planned at the moment. More importantly though, following the recent closure of Mecca Swindon, it also goes as far as to say there are no more closures planned either. Let’s hope these improved figures can be grown upon with some smart marketing and innovation. For once it’s nice to report that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t an oncoming train.