Goals Soccer Centres scores own goal as sales dip in first half

Francesca Washtell
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It wasn't quite back of the net for Goals in the first half (Source: Getty)

Five-a-side football company Goals Soccer Centres missed the net in the first half as like-for-like sales slid, though the group insists its recovery is well underway.

The figures

Like-for-like sales at Goals fell two per cent to £17m in the six months to 30 June, which the company attributed to implementing its long-term improvement plan.

Profit before tax dipped to £3.5m in the first half of this year, down from £4.5m in the first half of 2015.

Read more: Goals Soccer Centres suffer falling five-a-side sales

Goals said no dividend is planned for the current period, though the balance sheet was strengthened by a successful share placing of £16.75m in June and the launch of an investment programme.

Its share price was up one per cent in morning trading to 109.5p.

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Why it's interesting

Goals, which currently has 47 soccer centres, is planning to open its second soccer centre in the US in December.

The group restructured its board in July with the appointment of new chief executive Mark Jones and has launched an arena modernisation programme that aims to renovate 86 pitches by the end of the year.

Read more: Goals Soccer Centres issues profit warning

It has set out four key priorities following its strategic review: growing its UK estate; upgrading its IT systems and keeping ahead of competitors; focusing on international expansion; and developing additional revenue streams.

Goals has previously said it will return to paying dividends in 2017.

What Goals Soccer Centres said

Chairman Nick Basing said:

Whilst the financial results were below potential, they were anticipated and I am encouraged that our initial performance improvement plan has resulted in positive like-for-like sales for the last 11 weeks.

We have invested more capital in rejuvenating our core estate in the last three months than over the last 10 years. I am confident that this strategy will underpin future organic growth.

There remains much still to do, but I am pleased to say that we are further ahead in the steps to recovery at this stage than we thought we would be. So far so good.