Ladbrokes to close 60 shops as tax hits profits

The bookmaker had 2,209 stores at the end of last year

Ladbrokes will cut around 300 jobs as 60 high street bookies shut their doors this year with more closures to come, the outgoing chief executive Richard Glynn said yesterday.

The bookmaker, which is facing “significant headwinds” from a new online gaming tax and rising betting machine duty, had 2,209 stores at the end of last year. The latest round of closures comes after 89 high street shops were shut in 2014.

“It’s highly likely there will be more store closures going through into 2016… there’s no doubt about it – the additional tax and regulatory headwinds have pushed more shops into the bracket that needs examining,” Mr Glynn said.

 

Ladbrokes is “searching thoroughly” for a successor to Mr Glynn – who was ousted last year – according to its chairman Peter Erskine. The company, which has battled to turn around its online offering, saw pre-tax profits fall 14 per cent to £98m in 2014 despite a decent World Cup, as bookies took a battering in January last year and at Christmas. A host of favourites winning on Boxing Day cost Ladbrokes £8.1m.

Operating profits in its digital business jumped 70 per cent to £14m last year although recent punter-friendly results have hindered progress.

Shares in Ladbrokes rose  6.8p to 120p yesterday.

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