GOALS Soccer Centres, the five-a-side football group, said trading for the year to December 31 has been in line with expectations.
The business, which operates 43 centres in the UK, including Speke and Netherton, and one in Los Angeles in the US, said overall sales increased by 6% to £32m and like-for-like sales grew by 2%.
A successful appeal on HM Revenue and Customs’ decision to charge VAT on league income helped increase like-for-like sales by 2%, it said.
In a bid to drive cash generation and reduce bank debt the board has decided to postpone new openings, but said it will probably return to expansion in 2014.
The group also plans to increase its presence and brand awareness through increased participation in social media, which will mean changes to its IT systems leading to a reduction in the value of its IT infrastructure and software development costs of £1.8m.
The company said: “While 2013 look likely to be another challenging year for the UK consumer, Goals operates in a resilient market place with a favourable price point and a market leading position.
“This provides the necessary scale to cope with any challenges ahead and the board remains confident of continued progress in 2013.”
Liverpool stockbroker Panmure Gordon maintained its ‘hold’ stance on the company’s stock, with analysts Simon French and Lindsey Kerrigan saying: “We leave our 2012 estimated forecast of £9.3m profit before tax unchanged.
“The group has postponed further new centre openings but subject to satisfactory economic conditions will return to opening at least one centre in 2014.
“In 2013 estimates we have reduced our forecast by £0.3m from £10.1m profit before tax to £9.8m to reflect the postponement of new openings and increased investment in head office to drive further improvement in the returns profile of the existing centres.”