Cedar Fair Entertainment (FUN) reported gains in net revenue for the five weeks through the key Labor Day holiday weekend as attendance and in-park spending inched ahead even as disappointing first-half results brought a lowered outlook for the full year.
The Sandusky, Ohio-based operator of theme parks including Canada’s Wonderland, Knott’s Berry Farm and California’s Great America said preliminary net revenue rose 6% year-on-year to $288 million. Attendance rose 5% and in-park per capita spending was 1%, or $0.52, higher. Out-of-park revenue including resort accommodations was up 7%.
“We have experienced strong growth across all aspects of our business,” said Richard Zimmerman, the company’s president and chief executive. “We successfully executed on a number of initiatives designed to drive guest urgency while at the same time maintaining integrity in our pricing structure.”
But after revenue in the first half of the year ending June 24 dipped by 1% and attendance fell 2%, Zimmerman said the strong results last month “were not enough to entirely overcome the challenges the company faced through the first seven months of the year.”
Cedar Fair is projecting 2018 full-year net revenues to be in the range of $1.32 billion to $1.34 billion, down from previous guidance for $1.34 billion to $1.38 billion — a range that the company earlier warned could be missed.
“Overall, we thought this update was actually constructive given the company reported record revenues for August and its guidance is now in line with consensus,” Tyler Batory, an analyst with Janney Montgomery Scott, said in a statement.
Cedar Fair’s year-to-date revenue was “up slightly” to $1.04 billion, the company said. Batory noted that for Cedar Fair to reach the mid-point of its new guidance range, revenues need to grow 3% for the remainder of the year, which the analyst said is achievable.
“Our fourth quarter has become a meaningful period of operations, particularly as we leverage our highly popular fall events to jump-start sales of our 2019 season pass and all-season products, which are off to a strong start,” Zimmerman said.