An increase in the number of punters attending Newbury Racecourse failed to offset falling annual takings from concerts and conferences as the business suffered in tough economic conditions.
The Berkshire-based operator of the course said its core trading business slumped into the red last year after sales at its events arm plunged 15 per cent. The division also took a near £1m hit from its decision not to stage a Newbury Live concert because it could not secure suitable acts.
Its wider trading business made a £1.3m operating loss against profits of £160,000 in 2011 as turnover fell 6 per cent to £11.8m. But it attracted more racegoers last year – 225,000, up from 222,000 in 2011 – and said prize money increased by 10 per cent to £3.5m, helped by new sponsorship deals.
Newbury also hailed a deal with the housebuilder David Wilson Homes, which will see 1,500 homes built on three sites at the racecourse over the next decade, as pivotal to its future.