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Goals Soccer Centres – a month after interim results disappointment, “directorate change”

By Steve Moore | Thursday 12 October 2017

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from ShareProphets). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Following a 12th September interim results announcement which saw me consider it clearly tough operating conditions and (further) forecast downgrades ahoy, Goals Soccer Centres (GOAL) has now made a “Directorate Change” announcement…

This is that “CEO Mark Jones has notified the board of his intention to resign from the board and the company as he has decided to take another role in the private sector”. It is added that the search for a strong successor has commenced and that “in order to further progress the strategic turnaround of the company, Mark will continue in his role whilst his successor is sought”.

The latter at least means some near-term continuity, but Jones only joined the company in July 2016 – with Chairman Nick Basing then “delighted Mark is joining to lead the company through its next phase of development. Mark has an exceptional and experienced track record of managing leisure brands and growing businesses”. That included from Rank Group, from where he joined and where he was Managing Director of Grosvenor Casinos and sat on the group’s Executive Committee.

At the time, Jones was “delighted to be joining Goals. Whilst the company has experienced its recent issues, it remains an excellent business with significant potential both here in the UK and in the US. I look forward to working with the Goals team and driving the business forward”.

However, the recent interims included net debt increased by £4.6 million to £28.6 million, “highly cautious about the pressure on consumer spending” and “the overall turnaround to profitable growth is taking slightly longer than anticipated”.

The shares briefly recovered above 100p following the results announcement but are now back to slightly below the 93.5p level at which I previously wrote and I’d suggest Jones’ impending departure after little more than 15 months in-situ a further far from encouraging sign of the outlook here. I continue to avoid.

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