William Hill hails online, omnichannel roll out complete by end 2017
William Hill has pointed to ongoing growth in its online division as one of the key drivers behind a year-on-year increase in revenue during the 17 weeks to April 25, 2017 and Philip Bowcock, the group’s chief executive, has told analysts that the bookmaker intends to “have all of omnichannel across retail and online by the end of this year”.
Group net revenue in the period was up 9% on the corresponding 17 weeks last year, with revenue from the bookmaker’s online operations climbing 16%.
Retail revenue increased by 1% while William Hill also experienced growth in both the US and Australia, with revenue up 19% and 41% in the countries, respectively.
The bookmaker also said that online sportsbook wagers were up 9% and retail increased by 2%, while sportsbook wagers in Australia rocketed by 53% and were also up 29% in the US.
As a result, online sportsbook gross win margin came in at 7.5%, a rise of 1.2 percentage points on the corresponding period last year, but retail margins of 18% were 0.8 percentage points lower than the opening 17 weeks of 2016.
Philip Bowcock, who was appointed as William Hill chief executive in March of this year, said: “It has been a positive start to the year for William Hill across the board. Our online business continues to deliver growth thanks to the improvements in product, user experience and marketing we have made. Retail is also seeing positive trends while our key international markets continue to perform well with double-digit wagering growth.”
He also told analysts William Hill would have a complete omnichannel offering in place across its entire business by the end of 2017, backed up by a single wallet payment proposition. During the period, Hills completed the milestone “of putting the single wallet across the Playtech stack”, said Bowcock.
“When we think about omnichannel, we intend to have all of it across retail and online by the end of this year. That will clearly help us. We have launched the Bet Tracker app, which has been successful, and we are seeing some encouraging signs there.
“I think it’s clear our retail customers do want to engage in a multichannel offering, and we will have to wait and see just how quickly that develops.”
He added that the company was progressing well with its transformation programme and was on track to deliver £40 million (€47.5 million/$51.8 million) of annualised savings by the end of 2017 but the “benefit is going to be almost entirely into next year”.
Bowcock however emphasised that getting the implementation right was more important than the timeline so there isn’t too much churn in the process.
He added: “The profile of the marketing spend is probably going to be a little bit second-half weighted, but not too much, as we commit to programmatic marketing that we are going to launch in the second half.”
The impact of self-exclusion, projected to hit profits to the tune of £20-25m, had also “very much slowed down”, he added, “we keep an eye on it, but nothing material to say on that.”
Cenkos analyst Simon French added in a note: “The year has started well and these numbers should reassure the market although we expect a slowdown in headline net revenue growth over the coming months to c6-7% as the group laps Euro 2016 and currency tailwinds unwind.”