Hollywood Bowl scores strike with profits jump

Ten-pin bowling company Hollywood Bowl has reported a major increase in profits, smashing through analysts’ expectations for the full year to the end of September.

Profit before tax surged by 15.3% to £27.6 million over the period on the back of a 7.8% rise in revenue to £129.9 million.

Kate Calvert, an analyst at Investec, called the results “another well-executed performance from Hollywood Bowl with a 2.6% beat to consensus underlying 2019 financial year profit before tax”.

But the better-than-expected figures were not enough to boost the company’s shares.

They remained stable at 235p, unchanged on Thursday’s close, even amid a broader jump in the stock market after the General Election and reports of a potential trade deal between China and the US.

“I am delighted to report another year of strong profitable and cash-generative growth, demonstrating the consistent delivery of our proven, customer-led strategy,” said chief executive Stephen Burns.

It follows a period of investment in the company’s bowling alleys, with two new centres opening, including at Intu Lakeside in Essex – the largest new bowling alley in Britain in a decade.

“In addition to our new bowling centre pipeline, we look forward to the FY2020 launch of three trial Puttstars mini-golf centres, as we look to leverage our operational expertise to offer another family- focused, value-for-money, leisure experience,” Mr Burns said.

However, the new mini-golf could cause some headaches for the group.

“For us, the main issue going into the 2020 financial year is how the diversification into indoor mini-golf fares,” said analysts at N+1 Singer.

Mr Burns said: “We have made a solid start to the new financial year and we expect to make further progress in our ongoing refurbishment programme, investment in technology and continued rollout of customer innovations.”