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Technology playing its part

Goals scores with growing popularity of football in US

Goals Soccer CentresFive a side football company Goals Soccer Centres has reported good progress at home and in the US where the game continues to gain popularity.

Like for like sales in the US grew 13% while in Britain new centres opened in Manchester and Newcastle with a third under construction in Doncaster taking the total to 46. Two sites have been agreed in the US.

The company said it was taking advantage of new technology, including an app to drive customer growth.

It successfully raised £11 million through a placing and its bank facilities were restructured with a £42.5 million loan agreed at an improved rate.  

Underlying profit before tax rose 10% from £9.6m to £10.6m on sales up 3% from £33.7m to £34.7m.

The board is recommending a 13% increase in the final dividend to 1.325p (2013: 1.175p) lifting the total for the year by 8% to 2p (2013: 1.85p).

Sales for the first eight weeks of the year have been flat as a result of adverse weather this year and mild weather last year which drove 6% sales growth. Sales have strengthened in the past three weeks as the weather has improved.

Keith Rogers, managing director, said: “2014 marked the first full year of the group’s Path to Success strategy and I am pleased to report good progress across the business. Notwithstanding considerable investment in central infrastructure to support our future growth plans, we have achieved 10% growth in underlying profits, helped by our restructured Balance Sheet, which has also provided us with the funding capacity to progress our rollout in both the UK and the US.

“Our new site pipeline continues to develop in both the UK and the US.   With our re-engineered modular build, improved digital offering through the new website and the mobile app and our strengthened infrastructure and team, we are confident in making further progress in the current year and delivering attractive long term returns for our shareholders.”

Soccer is now one of the most popular team sports in the US with more than 13 million participants; 6.2 million of which participate frequently.

For 12 to 24 year olds, professional soccer now ranks as their second favourite sport, behind only the NFL, and is the favourite sport for Hispanics,

California is the largest soccer market in the US with approximately 2 million participants. Goals’s first “pilot” centre which opened in 2010 in Los Angeles, is trading strongly and profitably and still continues to exhibit strong growth.

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