Destinations

Six Flags Parks Attract Fewer Visitors, But Higher Spending in Q2

Jul 22, 2014 5:00 am

Skift Take

Six Flags will likely make up for the drop in guests in the third quarter, its busiest month, and see the double effects of higher visitation and spend before the end of the year.

— Samantha Shankman

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Jeremy Thompson  / Flickr

A roller coaster at Six Flags Great America. Jeremy Thompson / Flickr


The harsh winter that added days to school calendars along the East Coast and in the Midwest impacted attendance at Six Flags theme parks in the second quarter, but the company still posted higher profits as guests that did go to the parks spent more money.

Grand Prairie-based Six Flags Entertainment Corp. said today that earnings rose 40 percent in the quarter ended June 30. Profit increased to $66.3 million, or 67 cents per diluted share, from $47.3 million, or 47 a share, in the same quarter a year ago, the company said.

Revenue increased to $376.6 million from $363.7 million.

The long, snowy winter also delayed construction of new rides at some parks, CEO Jim Reid-Anderson told analysts during a conference call. Some guests may have delayed visits to the park until those rides were completed, some not until the end of June and this month.

“Spring break was softer than anticipated,” he said. “It was a broad impact we didn’t anticipate. It was disappointing it happened.”

Shares of Six Flags (ticker: SIX) fell $2.64 to $38.36 a share in mid-morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Attendance for the second quarter at the company’s 18 parks decreased 8 percent to 8.2 million guests, the company said. But the amusement park operator said 60 percent of its annual attendance comes in the second half of the year.

In the second quarter, total guest spending grew $4.21 per person to $43.73, or 11 percent. Admission revenue increased $2.56 per person to $25.15, or 11 percent, and in-park revenue increased $1.65 per person, to $18.58, or 10 percent, the company said.

The company has been raising ticket prices and limiting discounts to off-peak times. Moreover, guests who hold annual memberships and season pass holders didn’t come to the park as often in the quarter, even though sales of those ticket programs are up 9 percent, the company said.

Revenue from admissions was $205.4 million in the quarter, up from $199.6 million in the year-ago quarter.

“This is a resilient business,” Reid-Anderson said.

During the quarter, Six Flags announced plans to partner with developers Riverside Investment Entertainment Corp. to build Six Flags themed parks in China and with Meraas Leisure and Entertainment in Dubai to develop park in the Middle East. The company saw an increase of $5 million in its second quarter earnings from those new deals.

Six Flags operates parks in the U.S., Mexico and Canada, including Six Flags Over Texas and Hurricane Harbor in Arlington.

(c)2014 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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