Luminar banking on a busy Christmas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Late night operator, Venue, Tax, Oceana

Late night operator Luminar is hoping that its core 18 to 24 year-old market will put their worries aside this Christmas and enjoy the party season....

Late night operator Luminar is hoping that its core 18 to 24 year-old market will put their worries aside this Christmas and enjoy the party season.

Insisting its core branded operations are "better placed" than competitors to cope with tough trading conditions being experienced in the town centre market, Luminar chief executive Steve Thomas said: "Luminar is performing well and in line with our expectations, but the result for the year will, as ever, depend on the important Christmas trading period.

"Our customer base is young, vibrant and entertainment is socially very important to them. Therefore, we operate in a resilient part of the market."

Reporting interim results for the six months to the end of August, the company said revenue from its 91 continuing outlets fell to £94.3m from £97.9m in the same period last year, with the shortfall mainly due to a rolling refit programme which saw 12 units closed.

Revenue from dancing venues edged ahead to £91m from £90.7m a year previously. While like-for-like dancing venue sales were down 1.9 per cent across the group as a whole, they were up 2.8 per cent in branded units, which are the focus for Luminar going forward.

Like-for-likes in the Oceana brand were up 11.9 per cent in the half, and up by 0.5 per cent in the Liquid brand. Around 58 of Luminar's continuing outlets are now branded.

Profits from continuing operations before exceptional items and tax fell 37 per cent fall to £8.4m, from £13.4m a year ago.

Current trading reflects the challenging market, with overall like-for-like sales in the dancing venue division down 5.2 per cent in the eight weeks to October 22, and branded dancing venue like-for-like sales down 2.7 per cent.

However, the company insisted it is "well positioned to capitalise" on the forthcoming Christmas season.

Beyond that, with six new venues opened as well as the 12 refurbishments during the half year, Luminar said its strategy remains on track to reach 110 units during the 2011 financial year.

Thomas added: "Luminar is in excellent shape. We have an experienced management team, a balanced portfolio of modern clubs which are performing well and we have a strong balance sheet."

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