Five-a-side firm Goals hit by '˜disappointing' year

Goals Soccer Centres, the five-a-side football pitch operator, today said its profits tumbled by more than a fifth last year following a downturn in sales.

Goals managing director Keith Rogers has moved to LA. Picture: Contributed

The East Kilbride firm, which has 46 sites across the UK and one in California, posted an underlying pre-tax profit of £8.3 million for 2105, down from £10.6m the previous year.

Total sales fell 4.9 per cent to £33m, as an 8.4 per cent jump in like-for-like takings on the other side of the Atlantic was offset by a 6.7 per cent decline on home turf.

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However, Goals said the first nine weeks of its new financial year had seen a return to “very modest” sales growth.

New executive chairman Nick Basing, who has succeeded former Arsenal managing director Keith Edelman at the helm of the Aim-quoted business, said: “2015 was undoubtedly a disappointing year, however Goals still has a very sound operating model.”

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Goals warned in November that its profits would fall short of hopes after it faced “challenging” trading in the UK over the summer holiday period.

It opened two new facilities during the first half of the year – in Doncaster and Manchester – but today said it was not seeking any more outlets in the UK for “the foreseeable future”.

In an effort to grow its business in California, where five more sites are in the pipeline, managing director Keith Rogers has relocated to Los Angeles in his new role as president of Goals US. The firm said its search for a new chief executive and two non-executive directors was “well advanced”.

Rogers said: “We have built a strong football brand and have pioneered the game in the UK. However, we are not blind to the challenges we face in a fast-evolving market.

“The development of full-size artificial pitches on school and local authority sites has fuelled increasing competition to our league offering and players now have more choice on where to play their game. This has impacted our business significantly recently.

“Our confidence in, and enthusiasm for the US market continues to grow. We have made significant progress on our US site pipeline, with one site having completed legals and all necessary consents, and another four sites at an advanced stage.”