Cineworld aims for blockbuster profits
CINEMA operator Cineworld is pinning its hopes on a string of blockbuster films in the run-up to Christmas to make up for falling audience figures during the Olympics.
The group – which has 79 cinemas, including seven north of the Border – is expected to benefit from a strong release schedule including James Bond movie Skyfall, Lord Of The Rings prequel The Hobbit and science-fiction remake Total Recall.
The chain has already reported a drop in admissions for the first six months of the year but was able to boost revenues by hiking prices.
Pre-tax profits are forecast to have been boosted by 10 per cent to £13.6 million thanks to the price rises.
But visitor numbers are expected to have continued to fall last month when the firm posts full details of its interim results on Thursday.
The group has also tried to capitalise on Olympics fever by showing major events in 3D in its cinemas, as it did with Andy Murray’s Wimbledon final against Roger Federer. The cinema operator will be under pressure to maintain its market share after it slipped in the first half of the year to 24.7 per cent from 24.9 per cent.
Steve Liechti, analyst at Investec, said the shares were still worth buying as “history suggests cinema admissions are relatively defensive”.
The removal of booking fees and the launch of a 10 per cent discount for tickets booked online – which was piloted in Scotland before going UK-wide – has boosted growth of the group’s online MyCineworld registrations.
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Tuesday 18 June 2013
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