G proves a force for upbeat Rank

Gaming firm Rank yesterday said its Grosvenor Casino business had driven an "encouraging" start to the year as punters continued to flock to its G Casino brand.

Rank said Grosvenor's like-for-like sales were up 9 per cent in the 16 weeks to April 18, helped by longer opening hours and strong growth in customer visits, up 7 per cent.

The firm has rebranded many casinos to appeal to those who want a night out as well as a bet and plans to have 20 G Casinos open by 2012. Sites in Brighton and Newcastle are the latest in line for a relaunch.

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Recent trading at Mecca Bingo also improved as its clubs recovered slightly from the impact of January's winter weather.

Like-for-like revenues at Mecca fell 3 per cent during the first eight weeks of the year as snow kept older players away, but this decline eased to 2 per cent for the 16 weeks to April 18 as customers returned.

Rank has also converted four Mecca clubs to a new Full House format designed to appeal to a younger audience, with the latest sites at Oldbury and Aberdeen.