Tougher than expected trading has forced late night operator Ultimate Leisure to warn that profits for the year will be "substantially below" expectations.
Trading over Christmas and New Year and into January "has proved to be very difficult", said Ultimate chairman Mark Jones (pictured).
"Christmas has been poor for the business in the north east generally," Mr Jones, a situation made worse for Ultimate by the under-invested nature of its estate.
"We've been running this company for four months but some of our sites haven't seen any investment for five years.
"Plus specifically two of our sites have also been very badly hit by new competition," he added.
As well as planning to reinvigorate Ultimate's brands the company would "keep an eye on costs, improve customer service and look at pricing", although Mr Jones said he was "determined not to go down the crazy promotion route".
"We're doing things like half priced soft drinks and free soft drinks to designated drivers. We will do what we have to do with prices, but it's not our major weapon moving forward."
Ultimate's estate, due to undergo a major refurbishment programme in the coming six months, has been valued at £80m, £14m above its carrying value.
The company announces its interim results on February 28, when a further update on trading will be given.