William Hill announces plans to close 119 stores following Covid-19
A UK betting company has today reported that 119 of its stores will not reopen following the country’s lockdown.
William Hill, based in London, has not confirmed how many jobs may be affected by these plans, but said that there will be “minimal” cost of closure.
It said that the store closures are part of its “strategic alignment”, which will merge its online and retail divisions.
The company also reported a 32 per cent drop in revenue for the first six months of the year, earning net revenue of £554.4m, down from £811.7m in 2019.
It added that it will be repaying funds provided to it through the government’s furlough scheme.
Ulrik Bengtsson, CEO of William Hill, commented: “I am delighted with William Hill’s performance in these extraordinary times.
“Our team has been remarkable, supporting each other and our customers throughout the pandemic, and I would like to thank them for their continuing efforts.
“We are pleased with the moves we have taken to further strengthen customer protection, sending over 1.2 million player safety messages, and we are fully supportive of an evidence-based approach to the review of the Gambling Act, as suggested by the recent House of Lords report.
“We have clear proof that our strategy of focusing on customer, team and execution is working. Our trading was strong before COVID-19, we controlled costs effectively during lockdown and we have recovered well post-lockdown with good performances in our online businesses throughout the first half.
“The furlough scheme provided welcome and timely support and meant we could protect the jobs of our 7,000 UK retail colleagues. Therefore, given the strength of our recovery post-lockdown, we have decided to repay the furlough funds.
“We have continued to develop both our technology platform and our product offerings, with more significant enhancements to come in the second half.
“The balance sheet has been strengthened by the prompt actions we took to keep cash in the business, the successful placing, and the recognition of the VAT refund.
“As a result, we have the financial strength to confidently pursue our growth agenda, taking advantage of our market leading position in sports betting in the US, and the terrific opportunity that Eldorado’s merger with Caesars brings.”
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