Focusing on leisure is risky for Rank
Friday 09 August 1996
Getting rid of the rump stake makes good sense both strategically and financially, but focusing on Rank's leisure and entertainment core makes the company considerably riskier. Not least because if you add in the pounds 300m proceeds of other planned disposals, the new chief executive, Andrew Teare, has a worryingly fat chequebook to go with his understandably sketchy knowledge of the leisure business.
If he spends that money wisely, Rank could return to the top table of the British leisure industry from which it has been notably absent for years. But no one should underestimate the challenge, given the uninspiring springboard the rest of the group provides.
Best of the bunch is probably film duplication, and if Hollywood continues to churn out films like Independence Day and Mission Impossible, Rank will have no problem shipping at least the current million or so videos a day. The digital revolution means the video tape's day is numbered however, and this is probably a case of making hay while the sun shines.
Elsewhere Rank is like a snapshot of 1960s Britain, with a stable of squandered, underinvested and tired brands. Odeon, Butlin's, Top Rank, Mecca - it's hardly the starting point of choice for a man setting out to rebuild a leisure giant.
Hard Rock appears to have become the focus of Rank's attentions. Again buying in franchise operations and working the brand hard with spin-offs such as branded music venues and a record label make sense, but this is a 25-year-old brand where like-for-like sales in the first half were actually lower than in 1995.
It would be churlish to judge Andrew Teare after just three months in the job. But the honeymoon period is certainly over, as the 6 per cent fall in his share price yesterday amply demonstrated. Leisure and going out are destined to remain very high growth areas of consumer spending but finding the formula that attracts the punters remains as hard as ever. Mr Teare might do better to return the Rank Xerox cash direct to shareholders than to embark on a reckless spending spree.
- 1 Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
- 2 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 3 The Simpsons death: Creator Al Jean would 'kill himself' before character like Homer or Lisa
- 4 British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
Isis an hour away from Baghdad - with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin wedding: The famous congratulate actor and human rights lawyer after Venice nuptials
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
'Women, walk wherever you want' posters taken down in Stamford Hill following 'unacceptable' signs separating men and women
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...
£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...
£300 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer (Stored Procedures) Watford...