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Luminar sees profits slump

NIGHTCLUB owner Luminar yesterday said profits for the first half of the year almost halved as the leisure market continues to suffer from the lack of ready cash lining consumers&rsquo; pockets in the downturn.<br /><br />Pre-tax profits for the half year to 27 August fell to &pound;4.9m, from &pound;8.4m a year ago, which the firm blamed on weaker trading conditions and a later August bank holiday, deferring some sales to the second half. Like-for-like sales, a key measure of the firm&rsquo;s success, fell 4.5 per cent over the period.<br /><br />Luminar, which operates 88 clubs in the UK under the Oceana and Liquid brands, said trading so far in the second half had worsened further, with like-for-like sales down 14 per cent.<br /><br />But while the group&rsquo;s competitors have responded to the downturn by reducing admission prices and offering heavily discounted prices on alcoholic drinks, Luminar has so far resisted the temptation to follow suit.<br /><br />&ldquo;Luminar&rsquo;s strategy in this environment is to continue to play to its strengths by utilising higher quality assets and compliance to provide a better customer experience,&rdquo; said chief executive Stephen Thomas.<br /><br />Luminar also took an impairment charge of &pound;9.9m in the first half on its 49 per cent stake in struggling Chicago Rock Caf&eacute; owner 3D Entertainment.