Miserable weather may have dampened British spirits this summer – but it has provided a much-needed boost for some businesses.
One that has felt the benefits of the sixth-wettest July since records began is Mecca bingo owner Rank where revenues since the start of last month are 17 per cent higher than a year earlier.
‘It’s been great bingo weather,’ boss John O’Reilly told the Daily Mail.
Punters have been preferring bingo to barbecues and the beach in recent weeks. Analysis by Deutsche Bank suggests the wider gambling market has also benefited as punters seeking refuge from the weather turned to online betting, casinos and slot machines.
While gambling revenues fell 6.6 per cent in June when the sun shone, they rose 6.4 per cent in July.
Hit: Cinemas have cashed in on the miserable weather with big hitters such as Barbie and Oppenheimer, starring actor Cillian Murphy (pictured)
‘As expected, a cooler and wetter July drove a return to growth, after a poor performance in June,’ said Deutsche analyst Simon Davies.
Another industry that has made headlines in recent weeks is the big screen.
While cinemas have cashed in on big hitters such as Barbie and Oppenheimer, starring actor Cillian Murphy, many families have also been grabbing seats in a bid to dodge the dreary weather.
The release of the two blockbusters at the end of July resulted in the biggest weekend for UK cinema since 2019, according to the UK Cinema Association.
The films garnered almost £30million in box office sales while Vue, which is Europe’s largest privately owned cinema operator, mpoagen said that it enjoyed its second-biggest weekend ever for admissions.
Ten-pin bowling has also proved to be popular as families seek affordable activities close to home during the school holidays.
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‘It’s cheaper now to come bowling than it ever was before, comparatively to everything else,’ according to Stephen Burns, the chief executive of Hollywood Bowl.
‘This isn’t something you have to do, you don’t have to come bowling.
‘The reality is most people will open their curtains on a wet Saturday morning and go ‘what are we going to do to keep the kids occupied?’
Sophie Lund-Yates, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: ‘While one season of helpful weather won’t be enough to offset the broader challenges these sectors face, it’s certainly a helpful boost, and a strong reminder of the UK’s remaining willingness to spend outside of home.’
Despite the boost from the wet weather, Rank, which also owns Grosvenor Casinos, continues to grapple with high wage and energy costs, as well as ongoing regulatory changes.
Although the group said that its revenues climbed by 6 per cent in the year ending June to £681million, it fell into the red, swinging from a profit of £73million to a £123million loss.
Rank has been forced to shut 15 Mecca sites during the year as cost of living concerns affect demand.
And business at its Grosvenor arm has been held back by ‘the slow return of overseas visitors to London’s casinos and the more general pressures on the consumer’s discretionary expenditure’, O’Reilly said.
But he was optimistic for the next 12 months – especially as inflationary pressures ease.
However, Rank’s share price was down by 1.6 per cent, or 1.4p, to 88p yesterday.
Danni Hewson, head of financial analysis at AJ Bell, said: ‘The weather seems to have been its saving grace.
‘A dismal summer has forced people to find their fun indoors and revenues have shot up since the rain began to fall.
‘And as inflationary pressures ease the optimistic outlook seems well-placed.’