London Eye owner Merlin to open more Dungeons across the US

Kasmira Jefford
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Merlin’s Legolands have helped to drive its succes
London Dungeon owner Merlin Entertainments is planning to roll-out the spine-tingling attraction across the US after the success of its first US Dungeon in San Francisco.

The owner of the London Eye and Madame Tussauds yesterday reported a 6.7 per cent rise in like-for-like sales for the 36 weeks to 6 September, driven by a 13.8 per cent rise in sales across its Legoland Parks.

Chief executive Nick Varney said the San Francisco Dungeon, its first outside Europe, had received “very positive customer feedback” since opening in June, giving the group confidence to open more across the US.

“The question mark in our minds with the Dungeon brand… was how well would a brand steeped in medieval horrible history translate to the relatively younger history of the US,” he said.

“Reassuringly, we found that US cities, albeit somewhat younger in historical terms, have still got the same background of torture, disease and gratuitous violence that most of their European counterparts have,” he said.

Merlin’s rise in underlying revenue compared with a stronger 8.1 per cent reported for the first half. However, the firm had flagged a second-half slowdown due to a tough comparison with last year, when warm weather boosted visitor numbers.

Merlin said profit growth in the period was consistent with expectations and was expected to result in full year underlying profit margins similar to last year's levels.

Analysts are predicting full-year earn­ings of about £400m.

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