According to the former Gala Bingo operator, the closures could impact 151 of Buzz Bingo’s 2,456 employees, representing 6.1% of the total workforce.
The bingo chain pointed to a host of factors that have influenced the company’s decision, including changes in customer behaviour that have led to overall reduced numbers post-pandemic.
This fall in custom, combined with rising operational and energy costs, has meant that the nine affected clubs are no longer “financially viable”.
“In common with the entire leisure and hospitality sector, Buzz Bingo has failed to see customers return to the high street in the same numbers as before the pandemic,” said Buzz Bingo CEO Dominic Mansour. “This, coupled with a squeeze on family finances brought about by rising inflation and energy prices, alongside a jump in our own operating costs means we have no real option other than to cease trading in nine of our locations.
“Believe me, no-one wants to make the call to close clubs. However, it is my belief that it’s these decisions that will allow us to restructure the business for long-term growth and to protect the livelihoods of our colleagues for the long run.”
The operator has faced a challenging environment since the the Covid-19 pandemic transformed the country’s retail landscape.
Despite the government relaxing most preventative measures throughout 2021 and 2022, the company reported a £51.9m operating loss in Q2 2022. This was an improvement from the £141.9m loss the business reported the year before and indicated that further work was required.
In March 2021, asset management firm Intermediate Capital Group purchased a majority stake in Buzz Bingo from its previous owner Caledonia Investments.