Club chain raves about prospects

THE new owners of nightclub chain Luminar yesterday insisted the business was back on track as it recovers from years of under-investment.

The group now operates from 53 clubs – ranging from the Institute in Aberdeen to Cameo in Bournemouth – after being rescued from administration in a £45m deal that saved more than 2,500 jobs.

A trio of leisure industry specialists – Peter Marks, Alex Geffert and Joe Heanen – completed the deal in December 2011 before launching a refurbishment drive that will see 60 per cent of the estate overhauled by next February.

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Luminar’s chief financial officer Russell Margerrison said the estate had suffered from under-investment for many years.

He added: “The quality of the experience fell way below what our customers expected.

“We now have a robust plan in place that will touch the majority of the estate by the end of our next financial year, together with a longer term view of re-investing to keep our brands and venues up to date.”

The Milton Keynes-based group invested £2.4m in refurbishing clubs in York, Edinburgh, Crawley, Aberdeen and Eastbourne and on the acquisition of the lease on the Casino nightclub in Guildford.

A further £1.6m has been spent on minor refits, equipment upgrades and other improvements.

Profits for the year to February 23 were £1.3m based on turnover of £89.9m, despite the impact of additional tuition fees and high unemployment within the 18-24 age group on the late night sector.

Mr Margerrison added: “This is a really solid performance.”