Goals Soccer Centres issues profit warning

 
Kasmira Jefford
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SHARES in Aim-listed Goals Soccer Centres plunged 16 per cent last night after the company issued a profit warning, as people cancelled bookings at its five-aside football pitches and went on holiday instead.

The company, which has 46 centres in the UK, said like-for-like sales over the last nine weeks dropped 10 per cent, blaming tough comparatives on last year when the World Cup sent aspiring footballers rushing out to play.

It also complained of a rise in league and casual teams cancelling their reservations as players took advantage of the strong pound and the poor UK weather to holiday abroad.

As a result, it now expects full-year profit before tax in the range of £9.3m and £9.8m against previous analyst expectations of around £10.9m.

N+1 Singer analyst Sahill Shan cut his forecasts by 15 per cent to £9.3m, at the bottom of forecast range.

“It is difficult to second-guess if there are adverse underlying structural factors at play or not,” Shan said.

“For now, we accept management’s explanation given past experience of the group and leisure companies has taught us that summer months can often prove to be pretty volatile for the sector,” he added.

The warning came as Goals said sales were flat at £17.1m in the six months to 30 June, while underlying pre-tax profits rose by one per cent to £4.5m.