Snowy spell hits profits at clubbing firm Luminar

NIGHTCLUB operator Luminar warned yesterday pre-tax profit for the year will be below expectations, blaming youth unemployment and the cold snap for compounding the effects of the recession on its business.

Luminar said like-for-like sales in December were 13.8 per cent below last year, marginally worse than the 13.4 per cent fall it recorded in September.

It was temporarily boosted by clubbers hitting the town on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, with average sales per customer up 1.5 per cent on 2008. But Luminar said its woes had been exacerbated recently by the snowy start to January, which has had “a significant effect on footfall”.

Astaire analyst Mark Brumby said: “We believe youth unemployment will be with us for some time and that off-trade sales, ‘fuelling up’ and competition from the High Street are here to stay.”

Luminar also confirmed it will launch a cross-marketing trial with HMV, though analysts said the deal was unlikely to lead to a takeover offer from the music retail giant.

“We do not believe this would be a sensible strategic move for HMV,” said Panmure Gordon’s Simon French.