Disney reports 11% revenue increase for parks and resorts

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For the quarter ended Dec. 29, the Walt Disney Co. reported a 25% drop in earnings, to $1.25 billion, compared with $1.68 billion the year prior.

However, earnings for last year's first quarter were positively affected by one-time occurrences: the sale of E! Entertainment and Us Weekly magazine as well as the discontinued operation of the ABC Radio business. Excluding these items, earnings per share increased 29%.

The company reported an 11% increase in revenue for parks and resorts, to $2.77 billion, up from $2.49 billion. Operating income for parks and resorts for the first quarter was up 25%, to $505 million, compared with $405 million for the same quarter a year prior.

"We aren't going to predict the economy, [but] we are pleased with the current attendance at our parks," said Tom Staggs, Disney's senior executive vice president and CFO. "We feel the unique appeal of our theme parks will help us make the most of whatever economic environment."

Gains in the parks and resorts businesses were attributed to income growth at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.

"We definitely believe we have margin-expansion potential in our parks and resorts in general, as well as in our adjunct businesses. The cruise ships would be examples of that, as well as the [Disney] Vacation Club," said Bog Iger, president and CEO of Disney. "There clearly is improvement potential in our international theme parks."

To contact reporter Michelle Baran, send e-mail to [email protected].

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