Britain's Merlin Entertainments says it may be another two years before visitor numbers at its Alton Towers theme park hit previous levels. As Ciara Lee reports a serious roller coaster crash in June sank summer trade and took a chunk out of profits.
This roller coaster accident at Alton Towers in June left four teenagers seriously injured. And the fallout for its owners, Merlin Entertainments, continues. It says it could be another two years before visitor numbers at one of Britain's biggest themes parks recover to previous levels. And that's hit results. The world's second biggest attractions group behind Walt Disney said theme park sales fell over 11 percent in the 36 weeks to September 5th. Group profits are also set to fall below forecasts Shares were down over one percent after the results, but up 11 percent on the year thanks to the firm's success elsewhere. Strong Legoland demand in North America and Germany just offset the slowdown in Britain. Brenda Kelly is from London Capital Group. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD ANALYST, LONDON CAPITAL GROUP, BRENDA KELLY, SAYING: "I think the Legoland aspect of this company was the one thing that was a saving grace this time round which helped their like for like sales rise comparatively. And that's probably down to the Lego movie. But I think there is a lot of reputational damage." A weak euro also hit visitor numbers at Merlin's London attractions. The company says demand in 2016 is now hard to predict - but will be helped by more cautious spending.