Luminar investments reap 50% earnings rise

Pryzm Bristol

Club operator The Luminar Group has boosted earnings by 50% as it continues with investments in its 53-strong estate.

Earnings (EBITDA) for the year to February 22 reached £9.7million on the back of pre-tax profits of £3.4million – more than double the £1.3million of the previous year.

Revenue was down 1.8% to £88.3million but Luminar said this was because it was running fewer price promotions to attract clubbers in an effort to improve profit margins.

The company unveiled its new modern concept Pryzm to replace Oceana at venues across the UK, starting with Bristol in September (pictured) which has been followed by Kingston-upon-Thames in London, Leeds and Brighton.

The results were a second successful year of trading for the management team, headed by chief executive Peter Marks, which took over the troubled business after the previous owners went into administration.

Peter said: “The strategy we adopted on acquisition continues to deliver and we are pleased with the consistent progress we are making. Luminar’s trading position continues to improve, as the effects of investment in our estate and our people together with a robust focus on cost control improves profitability.”

During the period, Luminar has continued with its investment programme which aims to reduce the average age of the estate since refurbishment to three years. By the end of the year to February 22, over a quarter of the estate had received a major refurbishment, with a further £900,000 spent on minor refurbishments and equipment upgrades.

The company invested £5.3million with key projects including Pryzm in Brighton and Kingston-upon-Thames and clubs in Bournemouth, Lincoln, Preston, Cambridge and Romford in Essex. The company also made two tactical acquisitions in Chelmsford in Essex and Dundee.

Peter added: “When we acquired the business, one of our key priorities was to refurbish the estate which had been under-invested for many years. Our investment programme is now starting to deliver results and we’re proud of the high-quality nightclubs we now operate.

“In particular, Pryzm is at the cutting edge of UK clubs with the latest in sound technology together with luxury interiors and VIP pre-bookable booths attracting top-name DJs including Duke Dumont and Zane Lowe.”

The company has also invested in further roll-out of its UKCN X-press Drinks app which allows customers to order and pay for drinks from their smartphone and have them delivered direct to their table, removing the need to queue at the bar.

Additional developments include the replacement of back-office PCs in clubs, the launch of an engaging employee intranet to improve communication across the estate and completion of the Dashboard Project to streamline results reporting.

As the UK’s largest nightclub operator, Luminar is committed to responsible retailing and actively participates in a number of industry schemes including Pub Watch, Best Bar None, Purple Flag and Safer Socialising. Its clubs have won a number of awards for their commitment to customer safety and responsible retailing.

Current trading to date in the 2014/2015 financial year remains in line with expectations, with the refurbishment programme delivering returns on investment of over 40%. The latest relaunch is Club Batchwood in St Albans, Hertfordshire, this month after a £500,000 investment.

Looking forward, the company said the late-night sector remained exciting with significant upside for strong operators, with Luminar remaining well placed to make continued progress this year.

Peter said: “Luminar continues to show positive growth and performance, with a clear strategy in place to retain our position as the best nightclub operator in the UK.

“A passion for innovation together with a commitment to customer service, are key elements of our plan to remain at the forefront of the industry.”

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