Bowling group Ten Entertainment sees second biggest ever trading week over New Year despite Omicron


he boss of Ten Entertainment has revealed his bowling alley group registered its second biggest ever trading week over New Year as families headed out after Christmas undeterred by the Omicron variant.

Graham Blackwell told the Standard the operator had seen a softening in sales in the lead up to Christmas as corporates cancelled mid-week festive bookings.

But weekend bookings, traditionally family-led, had remained “static”, and the CEO believes a combination of steady prices and safety messages helped the company see the significant sales surge in the week beginning December 27th.

The comments came as Ten gave a trading update for the year to December 26.

The company, which rolled out new “Houdini escape rooms” and a revamped marketing strategy last year, said it saw “consistently strong” growth in the period, with sales up 32% on 2019 levels since reopening from lockdown in May 2021.

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The firm said it has offset lockdown losses to return to full-year profitability.

Blackwell now intends “to keep our pricing as low as we can for as long as we can”, and said promotions will be geared towards families as they face a cost of living squeeze.

Analysts at Peel Hunt noted the group’s “significant” footfall growth, and praised Ten’s cost control.

Shares were up 4.6%, or 11.4p, to 257p, this morning.