Marcus Corp. Q1 earnings show signs of improvement

Revenues increase, net loss decrease quarter over quarter

Marcus Theatres' Movie Tavern at Brookfield Square.

Milwaukee-based Marcus Corp. continues to operate at a loss more than a year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the numbers show some improvement.

The hotel, movie theater and restaurant operator on Wednesday reported a first quarter net loss of $28.1 million, or $0.93 per diluted common share. That’s an improvjjement from the previous two quarters’ $39 million net loss (Q4 2020) and $39.4 million net loss (Q3 2020). Year-over-year, net loss increased by 44%.

Revenues for Q1 totaled $50.8 million, down 68% from the same period last year — but also up from $36.7 million the previous quarter.

Marcus’ most recent quarterly results marks the fifth consecutive period in the red. Toward the end of Q1 2020, the pandemic forced all theater locations and the majority of its hotel properties to temporarily shutter, resulting in net loss of $19.4 million for that period. For the year, Marcus lost a total of $124.8 million and total revenue was down 82%.

“As we head further into 2021, the recovery is beginning to take hold, as evidenced by our improving operating performance compared to prior quarters,” said Gregory Marcus, president and chief executive officer of The Marcus Corp.

He cited vaccine distribution, improved market conditions and growing consumer confidence as drivers of increased business at Marcus movie theaters, hotels and restaurants, “although still at levels well below the norm.”

As a division, Marcus Theatres has a longer road to recovery than Marcus Hotels & Resorts. Last year, theater admission and concession revenues plummeted 77% and 75%, respectively, while hotel room revenue was down 66%.

Theater revenue for the first quarter was $22.6 million, up 59% from Q4 2020. The division reported an operating loss of $25.6 million, having reduced that number by 40% quarter over quarter.

The Marcus Hotels & Resorts division’s first quarter revenue rose 25% to $28.1 million from the previous quarter. The division cut operating losses in half, from $11.4 million in Q4 of 2020 to $5.7 million in Q1 2021.

With 89 theater locations across 17 state, the business is subject to varying state and local restrictions. The first quarter began with 52% of Marcus theater locations open. As of Friday, May 7, nearly 89% of theaters will be open, many with expanded operating days and hours. Remaining closed theaters are expected to reopen by the end of May as more anticipated new films are released and demand returns, the company said.

All eight company-owned hotels were open as of December 31, 2020, as well as nine out of 10 managed hotels and other properties. The majority of the company’s restaurants and bars were also open by that time.

Group bookings are behind typical pace for this time of year, but business picks up later in 2021 and into 2022, including cancelled group bookings due to COVID-19, which are rebooking for future dates.

“While it will take some time to return to pre-pandemic levels, the quality of our assets, the appealing experiences we provide and our continued focus on service and safety have positioned both Marcus Theatres and Marcus Hotels & Resorts for the continued recovery,” said Marcus. “We are encouraged by the improvements we are seeing and remain optimistic for the future.”

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Maredithe has covered retail, restaurants, entertainment and tourism since 2018. Her duties as associate editor include copy editing, page proofing and managing work flow. Meyer earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University and still enjoys attending men’s basketball games to cheer on the Golden Eagles. Also in her free time, Meyer coaches high school field hockey and loves trying out new restaurants in Milwaukee.

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