Six Flags blamed a devastating combination of scorching heat and heavy rain for hampering attendance at its amusement parks around the country — and walloping its bottom line.
The Plano, Tx.-based company estimates that it lost 400,000 customers in the three month-period ended July 2 due to record-setting heat waves in the South and Southwest and downpours in the Northeast, chief executive Selim Bassoul said during on an earnings call Thursday.
“We don’t expect to make up our weather related losses,” Bassoul said.
The company’s stock closed down by 4.5% to $21.82 following the report on Thursday.
Six Flags has been losing customers under Bassoul’s 20-month tenure, in which he dramatically raised prices at the 27 North American parks – and sparking controversy with efforts rid the parks of “rowdy teenagers” and attract more families instead, as The Post reported.
Extreme weather is just the latest headache for Six Flags.
Attendance increased by six percent in the quarter to 7.1 million, but management estimates that it would have grown by as much as 11% if not for the unpredictable weather.
By July, attendance began to improve – and was up 11% from a year ago – after Six Flags installed more shaded and air-conditioned areas at its parks as well as misters andsplash zones to cool off customers, Bassoul said.
Six of its parks are also experimenting with dynamic pricing for daytrippers who come on bad weather days or when the parks have a special events.
“It’s a weather hedge,” CFO Gary Mick said on the call of the fluctuating prices.
Six Flags will also invest in building more indoor venues, air-conditioned spaces including restaurants and ramping up its new e-gaming initiative. Mick said.
In May, the Six Flags Fiesta Texas inked a deal with IGN Entertainment to launch a 52-seat lounge for gamers.
“Gaming is a nice new initiative [as we look] at more indoor venues and continued efforts at shade,” Mick said.
Six Flags’ revenues grew by 2% to $444 million in the quarter compared to a year ago, while profits fell to $21 million from $45 million a year ago, largely due to an uptick in liability insurance costs, the company said.
Guest spending at the parks also dropped 5% to $60.76, because Six Flags has heavily discounted its pricing.