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Disappointing Legoland performance weighs down Merlin Entertainments

Bad weather in May and June contributed to “disappointing” performance at Legoland parks, operator Merlin Entertainments revealed today.

The group reported a decline in overall underlying pre-tax profit to £34 million for the 26 weeks to June 29 from £43 in the same period last year.

This came as visitor numbers edged up to 30.8 million from 29.9 million producing improved revenue of £763 million against £706 million.

Underlying earnings [ebitda] rose by 1.4% year-on-year to £191 million.

The company said it was on track to deliver £35 million of efficiency savings by 2022.


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Chief executive Nick Varney said: “Group performance year to date has been broadly in line with our expectations in the seasonally quieter first half of the year, with 6.5% organic revenue growth driven by a combination of like-for-like growth, continued contribution from new openings and the benefit of a diversified portfolio. 

“After a number of years of headwinds, it is pleasing to see both Midway and Resort Theme Parks (RTP) returning to better levels of like for like revenue growth, with improved cash generation.

“In Midway, we have seen an improvement in London trading and a generally solid performance elsewhere driving 4.5% like for like revenue growth, whilst RTP has delivered like for like growth of 3.0% despite difficult comparatives.

“Trading in Legoland Parks has, however, been more disappointing.

“Although we enjoyed a strong Easter and spring break performance, trading since then has been affected by poor weather in May and June, difficult market conditions in a number of countries and limited momentum from ‘The Lego Movie 2’.” 

He added: “With eight new Midway attractions opened in the period, 372 new accommodation rooms, and the ongoing development of new Leogland parks, we continue to build on our position as a unique, multi-format international operator of strongly branded and IP-led location based entertainment.”  

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