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Late Easter weighs on Six Flags attendance, sales

Steve Rothwell, AP Business Writer

Amusement park operator Six Flags Entertainment Corp. said Wednesday that a late Easter pushed many school vacations into the second quarter, hurting attendance and sales at its parks.

Revenue fell 16 percent, to $73.7 million from $87.5 million, in the January-March quarter. Attendance fell to 1.4 million people in the first quarter from 1.8 million in the same period a year ago.

Still, the company's loss narrowed slightly, to $61.2 million from $62.5 million, as some costs shrank. On a per-share basis, the loss widened to 64 cents from 61 cents as the number of shares outstanding fell.

Analysts polled by FactSet had expected a loss of 67 cents a share on revenues of $80 million.

While overall park revenues fell, there was a 7 percent increase in spending per head as admission fees rose and spending at the park, per person, increased. Sponsorship and licensing fees also rose.

Six Flags is expanding overseas and earlier this announced that plans to open a theme park in Dubai. The company is also introducing new rides at its existing parks.

The company's stock was not active in premarket trading Wednesday. The shares have gained 9.9 percent in 2014.