Luminar profits wiped out as clubbers stay at home

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The Independent Online

A fall in weekday clubbers will force Luminar to write down the value of its nightclubs by £60m, wiping out full-year profits.

The group, which operates 306 sites across Britain, unveiled the proposed charge as it announced plans to pump £100m into its estate in an attempt to persuade the country to start dancing again.

Steve Thomas, the chief executive, said the money would be spent on converting 54 of its 160 unbranded clubs into one of four new brands. The bulk of the remainder will be sidelined in a separate division that will be run for cash to fund the conversion programme. Mr Thomas blamed the 6 per cent fall in group like-for-like sales during the past six months on "more materialistic people who are going out less". The hot summer weather also put people off dancing in sweaty nightclubs, he added. Luminar's shares fell 15p to 414p.

Mr Thomas, who insisted he had no plans to take the group private, said creating a branded estate would set Luminar up for the next 10 years.

The company, which owns the Chicago Rock Café, Jumpin' Jaks and Liquid brands, said pre-tax profits fell 25 per cent to £20.5m during the six months to 31 August.

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