Vail Resorts 3Q profit drops 29 percent |

Vail Resorts 3Q profit drops 29 percent

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

BROOMFIELD, Colo. – Ski resort operator Vail Resorts Inc. said Thursday that its earnings dropped 29 percent in its fiscal third quarter as visits by out-of-state guests remained weak.

Total skier visits for the season to Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge in Colorado and Heavenly in California were down 5.3 percent.

For the quarter that ended April 30, Vail Resorts earned $61.6 million, or $1.68 per share. That’s down from $87.3 million, or $2.24 per share, a year ago.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a lower quarterly profit of $1.56 per share.

Vail’s revenue slipped 21 percent to $333.5 million, compared with analysts’ forecast of $339.7 million.

Visits from out-of-state guests dropped during the quarter as the recession continued to pressure consumer spending, said Chief Executive Rob Katz. Total visits to Vail’s resorts declined 9 percent during the quarter and lift ticket revenue fell 11 percent.

A 26 percent surge in season pass revenue from regular visitors, however, partially offset those losses. In-state guests made up 43 percent of total visits during the quarter, up from 37 percent in the last ski season.

Fewer destination guests and reduced guest spending cut into the company’s ancillary revenue as well. Ski school revenue tumbled 21 percent during the quarter, dining revenue fell 20 percent and retail/rental revenue dropped 19 percent.

In Vail’s lodging segment, revenue per available room fell 18.6 as occupancy fell and the company cut prices to attract guests.

The company’s real estate segment raised $9 million on closing the sale of one condominium unit, down from 17 units closed last year.

For the upcoming ski season, Vail said its season pass sales as of May 31 were up 39 percent from last year.

“While this is clearly very strong pre-season performance, it is too early to discern the extent to which this trend will continue, and what the ultimate level of incremental new season pass purchases will be, as opposed to what portion of the increase represents guests making their purchases earlier in the selling period,” Katz said.

For its full fiscal year, Vail Resorts expects earnings to range from $41 million to $51 million.

Vail shares fell 95 cents, or 3.3 percent, to $27.94 in morning trading. The stock has traded between $14.76 and $52 during the past 52 weeks.

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