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Scrapping of online fee helps Odeon reel in the cash

By Holly Williams

Blockbusters including Jurassic World and a move to scrap online booking fees helped Odeon and UCI Cinemas more than double earnings as the business attracted more film-goers in the first half of 2015.

The group, which has 113 cinemas in the UK including one in Belfast, said half-year bookings leapt 13.8% year-on-year to £42.9m thanks to the strong line-up of summer releases, which included Fast & Furious 7 and Avengers: Age of Ultron, as well as Mad Max: Fury Road, Pitch Perfect 2 and Minions.

Odeon also said sales were boosted after it axed online booking fees in the UK in April, as well as introducing more flexible pricing depending on demand and increasing staff training to improve customer service.

A 17.7% leap in first half revenues helped Odeon's underlying earnings surge to £37.3m, up from £18.4m, a year earlier.

But a lacklustre summer and early autumn release schedule has seen the third quarter get off to a slower start, as Odeon said trading was not as strong as it was in the half-year.

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