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Rank London NGR down 38% due to lack of international tourism and low office worker numbers

The Rank Group says its trading in the first six weeks since reopening its venues is “in line with management’s expectations.”

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In its latest trading update, the company said NGR in venues outside of London is similar to 2019 levels, while NGR in London is down 38% on 2019 levels. The decline, according to Rank, is linked to a decrease in international tourism, the ongoing late-night travel challenges for customers, and the reduced number of office workers.

And in Spain, the group said “trading has improved as regional restrictions on capacity limits and opening hours have gradually been relaxed.”

Performance in Rank’s digital businesses in Q4 meanwhile is expected to be at a level between that achieved in Q2 and Q3 of the current financial year.

“The group's venues are trading above cash breakeven and we expect trading to continue to improve as social distancing and international travel restrictions are eased, and when the current 10.30pm curfew is removed in Scotland,” a statement from Rank read.

Rank also highlighted issues outside of trading in the update, including liquidity and its VAT refund claim. In terms of the former, the company said it will “comfortably meet its £50m minimum liquidity test at 30 June 2021 and expects to continue to meet all future liquidity and financial covenant tests.”

The group added that the first scheduled term loan amortisation payment of £19.7m was made as expected in May 2021.

And in terms of the latter, Rank announced it is “pleased to note yesterday's ruling in its favour by the First-Tier Tax Tribunal on its claim to be refunded VAT paid on slot machine income in the period from April 2006 to January 2013.

HMRC has 56 days to lodge an appeal, while the parties also have 56 days to agree on the exact details of the sum, which Rank expects to be in line with the previous estimate of £80m.

The group is scheduled to release its preliminary results for the 12 months ending 30 June 2021 on 19 August 2021.

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