By Jonathan Davies

Ladbrokes has announced plans to close 60 stores in the UK after profits fell by nearly 50% in 2014.

The bookmakers reported profits of £38m, down from £68m in 2013, as a result of "regulatory headwinds" and disappointing Boxing Day sales.

Ladbrokes also said that the impending increase of taxes on betting machines meant that store closures were inevitable.

Ladbrokes outgoing chief executive Richard Glynn, said: "Whilst recognising there are regulatory headwinds, Ladbrokes is confident in its plans for 2015.

"Strong operational delivery delivered a second half of growth as envisaged, but the £8m hit on Boxing Day did take some of the shine off our performance."

He added that Ladbrokes would be focusing on growth in international and online markets in 2015, with digital revenue up 23% in 2014.