Cedar Fair reports "strong performance" so far for 2021

Posted Wednesday, September 8, 2021 8:55 AM | Contributed by Jeff

From the press release:

Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and immersive entertainment, said today that strong attendance and guest spending trends had continued across its portfolio of 13 properties through the 2021 Labor Day weekend, while strong initial sales of 2022 season passes offer early indications that market demand remains high for immersive, outdoor entertainment experiences.

“Strong attendance through the Labor Day weekend capped off a very busy and successful summer season at our parks and resort properties,” said President and CEO Richard Zimmerman. “The strength and resilience of our business model has quickly propelled operations back to near-historical levels over the last 10 weeks.”

Preliminary net revenues through Sept. 5, 2021, totaled $879 million, driven by attendance of 12.9 million visits, in-park per capita spending of $60.99, and out-of-park revenues of $122 million. For the comparable period in 2020, net revenues totaled $134 million, on attendance of 2.1 million guests, in-park per capita spending of $45.43, and out-of-park revenues of $42 million.

Year-to-date 2021 and 2020 results are not directly comparable, given the effects of the pandemic and suspension of park operations during the summer of 2020. To provide more informative comparisons, the following information reflects results for the comparable 10-week periods of June 28 through Sept. 5, 2021, versus July 1 through Sept. 8, 2019. During the 10-week period in 2021, the parks had 878 total operating days compared to 936 operating days during the comparable 10-week period in 2019.

For the 10-weeks ended Sept. 5, 2021, preliminary net revenues totaled $645 million, a $3 million increase from $642 million during the comparable 10-week period in 2019. The year-over-year growth was driven by a 25%, or $12.73, increase in in-park per capita spending to $62.81, and a $3 million, or 4%, increase in out-of-park revenues to $71 million. These increases were offset in part by a decrease in attendance of 2.4 million visits, or 20%, largely due to 58 fewer operating days in the period. On a same-day basis(1), attendance for the current 10-week period represented approximately 85% of comparable 2019 attendance levels. Excluding results of Canada’s Wonderland’s, which remained under capacity limitations for the entire period, total attendance for the current 10-week period ended Sept. 5, 2021, represented approximately 90% of comparable same-day 2019 attendance levels.

Commenting on the recent operating performance, Zimmerman said, “We are extremely pleased with the momentum we’ve built in the business over the past two months. We continue to see healthy demand across all areas of our business, reaffirming confidence in the strategic initiatives within our long-range plan. Our strategy to broaden the guest experience through more experiential attractions and limited-duration events is extending our audience reach, encouraging guests to visit and visit more often, and contributing to the growth in guest spending, which is at record levels.”

Zimmerman added, “We are also very encouraged by the early trends in the sale of 2022 season passes and related all-season products, which through yesterday are pacing well ahead of the early sales numbers of the then record 2020 season pass program. Pre-COVID, our season pass and other all-season programs, which have always produced meaningful, recurring revenue streams, helped drive our record performance in 2019 and much of the attendance growth we’ve produced over the past several years. These programs remain foundational within our long-term strategic plan, and a key area of focus as we develop and expand our resources and capabilities in areas like business intelligence.”

Zimmerman continued, “In a few weeks, our parks will begin transforming their midways into a seasonal, color-filled celebration of autumn, highlighted by the return of our regional Halloween events including Haunt, HalloWeekends, SCarowinds and, of course, Scary Farmat Knott’s Berry Farm, where theme park scare fests were invented some 50 years ago. Historically, weekends in October leading up to Halloween produce our busiest days of the year, offering unique, immersive entertainment at a size and scale unmatched in our markets. Given the tremendous demand for these special events, we have added days to this year’s park operating calendars that will provide our guests more opportunities to visit during this extremely popular period.”

Zimmerman concluded by noting, “Given the strong performance of our parks during July and August, our positive outlook for the balance of the year, and the early sales trends for 2022 season passes, we remain committed to our near-term priorities of reinvesting in our business, reducing debt, and reinstating our distribution when most appropriate.”

Read the press release from Cedar Fair.

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