Goals Soccer Centres increased sales last year as more people turned out to play five-a-side football

Caitlin Morrison
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Goals runs five-a-side football pitches

Sales at Goals Soccer Centres went up last year, with the company attributing its success to an improved customer experience due to more investment in upgrading its five-a-side pitches.

The figures

Group sales for the year increased by 1.3 per cent to £33.4m from £33m, with like-for-like sales growing by 0.6 per cent, which the firm said was "broadly in-line with market expectations".

Goals also said football volume stabilised to end the year positively, up around one per cent, helped by a strong second half performance of 3.1 per cent growth.

The group said this reflected an "improved customer experience, driven by the Arena modernisation programme, with upgraded ProTurf pitches, new LED lighting systems and renewed stadia boards which saw 136 pitches upgraded during the period".

Why it's interesting

This trading update marks a turnaround from Goals' first-half performance last year, when like-for-like sales dropped two per cent. At the time, it said spending on its improvements programme was to blame for the decline in sales, but this morning that spending looks like it's paid off. And the firm is certainly on a better footing than it was at the end of 2015, when it issued a profit warning.

Goals has previously stated that it will return to dividend payments in 2017, and although there was no mention of a divi in today's update, the group said:

With our robust trading driven by the implementation of our strategic plan, a strong balance sheet and solid growth prospects, we look forward to delivering continued progress in 2017.

What Goals said

"I am positive that we have turned the corner with this result," said Nick Basing, Goals chairman.

"The new refocused strategy under strong new executive leadership is working and I hope momentum will build further in 2017."

In short

Goals has improved sales and increased volumes - can the group make it a hat-trick and bring back the dividend too?

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