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News

Drop in financial confidence slows leisure trusts' expansion plans

Results from the seventh annual sporta State of Industry survey show that confidence in the medium- to long-term financial position is down and expansion and development plans are less likely to take place.

The study, carried out by Leisure-net Solutions, is thought to reflect the challenges that face the leisure sector in general. According to the survey, confidence in the medium- to long-term financial position is down 19 per cent compared to the 2007 study, but 61 per cent of chief executives and managing directors questioned still state they feel 'very' or 'quite' confident.

Expansion and development plans within existing facilities seem less likely to take place than 1-2 years ago however, with only 37 per cent stating they are very likely to expand their operation - the lowest figure since the survey began in 2002. Plans to expand by taking over other facilities, both within and outside of sporta members' existing geographical areas are also being put on hold, with only 2 per cent saying they are very likely to do so compared with 9 per cent in 2007.

Relationships with their clients and councils remain solid, with 74 per cent of respondents describing it as 'good' or 'very good': 43 per cent said the relationship has got better in the last year. The 2008 survey was based on responses from chief executives and managing directors of around half of sporta's 120 members, who between them operate more than 920 facilities across the UK with estimated annual visits of 210 million.

Mike Hill, managing director of Leisure-net Solutions, said: "This is the seventh year that we have carried out this survey of the people at the top of the organisations that run almost a third of public sector leisure facilities. The results reflect the challenges and uncertainty facing all operators in the leisure sector at the moment."

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Results from the seventh annual sporta State of Industry survey show that confidence in the medium- to long-term financial position is down and expansion and development plans are less likely to take place.
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