Merlin announces Legoland New York in bid to shake off terror and weather blues

Alys Key
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Merlin is investing $350m in the creation of the park (Source: Merlin)

Attractions operator Merlin has confirmed it will open a Legoland theme park in New York, as the popular brand continues its march across the globe.

Shares in the London-listed company are currently at their cheapest point in more than two years, following a gloomy trading update last week which showed that terrorist attacks and bad weather had hit revenue.

But analysts at UBS say the group is in line for a recovery in 2018, and that the Legoland brand is set to record increased like-for-like sales due to new Lego movies.

"We are of the view that this is indeed just an unfortunate period for Merlin impacted by external events, rather than any structural issues," said analyst Chris Stevens.

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The addition of the New York site, to be located 60 miles outside of New York City, will bring the total number of Legolandparks to nine. The latest opening was in Japan, and more are planned in South Korea and China.

Merlin will put $350m (£264m) into the development, its biggest single investment in a park to date.

Chief executive Nick Varney said: "This investment reaffirms our commitment to further diversifying Merlin’s portfolio of attractions internationally and is an important milestone in our global Legoland rollout programme."

Read more: Lego to cut 1,400 jobs by the end of the year

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