Goals Soccer Centres today warned that it is set to miss the target on its full-year profits.
The five-a-side football firm blamed the mis-hit on slower US growth and tight margins in “ancillary activities” such as food and drink, sending shares down 2.8 per cent in early morning trading.
As a result, Goals expects profits to come in between £4.3m and £4.5m, considerably down on analyst expectations of £5.3m.
Slower than expected US growth in new clubs in Pomona and Rancho led to one-off losses of £0.4m for Goals, while a fluctuating exchange rate led to a £200,000 loss on the firm’s US loans.
Underlying sales in 2018 grew by just 0.5 per cent to £32.4m after a year of two halves, in which bad weather put people off booking matches in a weak first six months, before Goals’ second half upgrade of 39 of 46 UK pitches saw sales grow by four per cent.
The introduction of food and beverage services, as well as a children’s party service, in the second half of the year grew sales by £300,000 but hit profits by the same amount, as well as increasing costs by £500,000 thanks to increased staffing.
However, Goals said a revised pricing and product offering for these services in December should better control costs going forward.
Chief executive Andy Anson said: “Frustratingly, a number of cost overruns have impacted 2018 profits. It is disappointing that well-conceived initiatives to drive revenue have been delivered at the expense of margin.
“However, we have already taken action to tighten cost control, and processes and procedures are now in place to augment and support margin management. The benefits of these changes will be felt in the current year, as will the effect of the new management team.
“The investment strategy that is being executed is improving the underlying performance of the clubs, which is demonstrated in our H2 sales results.
“We will continue to turn Goals around to deliver the performance that the management know the company can achieve.”