THE ba’ is not quite on the slates, but the game has certainly moved into a competitive phase for Goals Soccer Centres in the UK.

The five-a-side football firm has joined the chorus of consumer-facing businesses in expressing concern about increasingly fragile consumer confidence. Goals, which has echoed concern highlighted by the likes of Russell Hobbs owner Ultimate Products and Dixons Carphone in recent days, said that, amid mounting pressure on consumer spending, sales in the second half are unlikely to reach the heights it previously envisaged.

When a company with such a price-competitive model as Goals – with the cost per game no more than £5 to £10 – is so worried about the outlook, then the picture really does look bleak for an economy

Loading article content

that seems more battered by the day as a consequence of the Brexit vote.

Fortunately for Goals, it can look to a future beyond the embattled UK.

The company, which has

46 sites in the UK, opened its first outlet in the US five years ago, with a second following

in February this year. Now, thanks to its joint venture with City Football Group, it is

going to be a whole lot more assertive across the Pond. Two further openings are planned for 2018 and more are likely to follow on the back of the

$16 million investment from CFG.

Chief executive Mark Jones said the market could, in theory, support “many tens” of Goals sites. It is little wonder, then, that Goals remains optimistic of delivering improved returns for shareholders over time, even though conditions in the UK are likely to remain in the doldrums for some time yet.