Club-goers light up Luminar's Christmas

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The nightclub operator Luminar shrugged off fears of a slowdown yesterday, reporting encouraging sales over Christmas, including a 3.1 per cent rise in sales from continuing operations rising over the five weeks to 4 January.

Luminar said like-for-like sales from its dancing division , which houses its nightclubs, increased by 7.3 percent over the period.

"Our opening programme for 2006 [was] completed before Christmas with the new operations trading well and we have a strong pipeline of new sites for 2007/08," the company said in a statement.

In December, Luminar agreed to sell its Chicago Rock and Jumpin' Jaks bar chains in a £76.8m cash deal to focus on developing its main branded dancing venues, Oceana, Lava & Ignite and Liquid.

Faced with tough competition, Luminar has been struggling to reinvent itself as a specialist in big, city-centre nightclubs which can be converted to host live music, corporate events and product launches.

"In recent years, growth from the rebranding programme has been offset by initial dilution from disposals and falling entertainment bar profits," Panmure Gordon said in a note.

"Earnings should now benefit from a further 32 rebrandings over the next 28 months."