First-quarter sales increased 20.1% on a 24.6% jump in theater sales and 15.7% growth in the hotel segment. However, the results didn't flow down to profits, as net income fell 14.4%. The decrease came primarily because last year's results included tax credits related to the renovation of a hotel in Oklahoma. Additionally, the first quarter in 2006 included revenue from Memorial Day, which is typically a stronger-performing weekend.
The company owns and operates movie theaters, and also manages hotels for other parties. I recently visited Las Vegas and found the company has one property there, the Platinum Hotel & Spa. I couldn't find a movie theater at the location, and I'm pretty certain none of its other hotel properties boast movie theaters. So much for the potential corporate synergies, but at least both divisions are growing nicely as separate entities.
As you might imagine, theater sales are highly dependent on movie releases, and hit movies that helped to drive the improved first-quarter performance included Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Transformers, and Ratatouille. August came in better than management originally expected, "buoyed by films including The Bourne Ultimatum, The Simpsons Movie and Superbad."
Growth plans in the theater division include more than just opening new screens. Marcus is also intent on screening sporting and music events at existing locations, to try and lessen dependence on the hit-or-miss dynamics of films from Disney
Ambitions in the hotel group include focusing on managing more outside properties with companies like Hilton Hotels
Past company growth trends have been murkier. Reported sales and cash flow generation have fallen on average over the past five years, though Marcus did exit its limited-service lodging operations. So what remains could have more appealing potential, and recent results suggest that may be the case.
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Fool contributor Ryan Fuhrmann has no financial interest in any company mentioned. Feel free to email him with feedback or to discuss any companies mentioned further. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.