Higher ticket, food prices prop up Disney
The Walt Disney Co. reported robust fourth-quarter earnings, saying that its theme parks, closely watched as informal barometers of discretionary spending in the broader economy, saw operating income climb 33 percent, to $421 million. The primary reason was an end to the deep discounting Disney put in place to prop up attendance during the recession. Attendance at Disney’s parks in Florida and California was up only 1 percent, but per capita spending rose 9 percent on higher ticket prices and increased spending on food and merchandise. After the parks, Disney’s strongest performer was the TV business - ESPN, Disney Channel, ABC - with a 20 percent increase, to $1.46 billion. For the quarter, Disney said profit reached $1.09 billion, or 58 cents a share, from $835 million, or 43 cents, a year earlier. Revenue climbed 7 percent, to $10.43 billion. Analysts expected profit of 55 cents.