Buzz Group expects continued growth driven by a more diversified omnichannel business following a restructuring and heavier emphasis placed on online operations during 2023.
The company – operator of the Buzz Bingo and Buzz Casino brands – outlined that revenue for the 12-month trading period between October 2022 and September 2023 stood at £195m, driving gross profit of £137m.
However, total losses after taxation for the year rose slightly from £52m in September 2022 to £53m as of last month, attributed by the firm to reorganisation costs and ‘one-off costs’ such as a non-cash goodwill impairment charge.
Regarding its restructuring, Buzz Bingo’s most notable changes in these areas have concerned the balance between retail and online operations, with the former having been reduced whilst the latter is expanded.
In April this year the company opted to close down nine underperforming venues – Surrey Quays, Slough, Manchester’s Belle Vue, Carlisle, Birkenhead, the Wirral and West Yorkshire in England and Dumfries in Scotland.
For its remaining venues, the group states that post-COVID recovery is continuing well with retail revenue up 47.2% year-on-year, driving growth in underlying EBITDA – although a focus on a ‘new, younger demographic’ has also been cited as being behind this.
Dominic Mansour, Buzz Bingo Group CEO, said: “We’ve come out of an extremely challenging period and while rising inflation and the ongoing cost of living crisis remains a concern for the entire industry, we have been heartened by the growth in new, younger customers with an ongoing interest in exploring different forms of leisure and entertainment, both online and across our retail Clubs.”
Further restructuring efforts at Buzz have focused on cost reduction, such as a reorganisation of its head office late last year whilst energy consumption has been cut by 30%.
However, perhaps most significant for the business – and perhaps for the wider UK bingo sector in general – is the heavier emphasis it places on digital operations, having launched an igaming vertical shortly after the retail closures.
Developed by Playtech, Buzz Casino includes table games, live casino titles and slot games, and further adds to the group’s online activity by sitting alongside its live bingo streaming product.
The group’s online revenue grew 8.2% over the 12-month period and Buzz anticipates that the segment will continue to grow as it maintains its focus on attracting new players, with the most recent figures suggesting a 30% year-on-year uptick.
Mansour continued: “We now have a business that is the right scale and shape and also has the right protections in place for customers. This is the perfect springboard to continue our push to be the nation’s number one choice for Bingo.
“We are committed to creating a fun, entertaining but also safe experience for our customers – both online and in retail – building on our many years of experience at the heart of local communities across the UK.”z