Merlin reports 'satisfactory' start to 2015

Merlin reports 'satisfactory' start to 2015

UK theme parks giant Merlin Entertainments reported a “satisfactory” start to the year with revenue up by 6.5%.

A trading update for the first 18 weeks of the year showed like-for-like revenue growth of 3.3%.

This was driven primarily by favourable weather in Europe across the early season holiday periods.

The company’s two US Legoland Parks, which are open year-round, also benefited from promotional activity related to 'The Lego Movie' that came to an end last month.

Chief executive Nick Varney said: "Merlin has had a satisfactory start to 2015, having made tangible progress across our strategic growth drivers. Perhaps most importantly however, guests are telling us they love our new products and attractions.

"Looking forward, we are positive on the outlook for the remainder of the year.

“At this early stage of the season, our full year expectations remain unchanged, although we remain mindful of the potentially negative impact a weaker euro could have on eurozone visitation to the UK."

Merlin said it was transforming its theme parks into “destination resorts” with 120 lodges and five tree houses at Alton Towers Resort seeing “excellent early bookings” and a 152-room themed hotel opening this month at Legoland Florida.

Five new attractions have opened so far this year - Madame Tussauds Orlando, Sea Life Orlando and Orlando Eye, Legoland Discovery Centre in Osaka and Sea Life Michigan.

The pilot of the new brand, DreamWorks Tours - Shrek's Adventure, is to open on London’s South Bank in July and a Legoland Discovery Centre in Istanbul isn expected to open the following month.

A new Legoland park in Dubai, due to open next year, and others in Japan and South Korea in 2017, remain on track, the company said.

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