CEC Entertainment Inc., owner of Chuck E. Cheese’s, has reported 2nd quarter 2009 results. Comparable store sales were down 5.4% for the quarter and -2.4% for the year to date. By region of the country, comparable store sale results were:
The worst performing state was California with 73 units. Comparable store sales there were down 8.7% for the quarter. However, the average California store sales continue to outperform most other stores with sales still 20% higher than average for other stores. Excluding California stores, comparable store sales were down 4.4% for the quarter.
Management attributed the sales decline to the recession and the swine flu outbreak that severely hurt sales for about a six-week period.
CEC plans to install hand sanitizer dispensers in all their stores. They have been testing a birthday blast cylinder that the birthday child stands in while money, tickets and vouchers fly around and the child tries to grab as many as possible. Results have been very positive, so CEC plans to roll them out into other stores. This is a good example of raising the fidelity of an away-from-home experience to counter in-home entertainment competition (see the Future of Leisure article above).