Merlin Entertainments reports strong Halloween period and says it's on track to meet profit expectations in 2016

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Legoland owner Merlin said trading has been positive this year (Source: Getty)

Alton Towers owner Merlin Entertainments said it's on track to grow profits and meet expectations for this year, in a trading update published this morning.

The leisure group said its theme parks operating group "enjoyed a strong Halloween period", which was helped by good weather.

In its midway attractions operating group, underlying trading has remained consistent with previous updates.

The Legoland parks operating group continued to show positive momentum, although trading in Florida "remains soft due to challenging market conditions".

Merlin said it is making good progress towards its 2020 milestones, including the opening of Legoland Dubai on 31 October and Madame Tussauds Istanbul on 28 November.

Shares in Merlin were down 1.7 per cent in early trading.

Analysts pointed out that the company has not capitalised on the weaker pound and the knock-on effect that should have for tourism.

“Lower sterling is failing to cast a spell over Merlin’s London attractions," said Nicholas Hyett at Hargreaves Lansdown.

"Lower visitor numbers to attractions in the capital, such as Madame Tussauds and the London Dungeons, impacted performance over the summer. The trend seems to be continuing in the run-up to Christmas.

"Fortunately, Merlin’s long term future isn’t based on its historic London footprint. The roll-out of attractions around the world continues, and while increased security concerns may be dampening city centre demand at the moment, we don’t think it alters the long-term appetite for what Merlin has to offer.”

Earlier this year, Merlin admitted that it breached health and safety laws which led to a crash on its Smiler rollercoaster in 2015.