The UK’s largest nightclub operator – behind Birmingham music bar and restaurant The Jam House – was in upbeat mood yesterday after reporting an improvement in recent business.
Luminar also said it was in the advanced stages of a plan to divest its Chicago Rock Cafe and Jumpin Jaks division, which has been a drag on its performance.
The company will concentrate on its dancing arm, which includes the brands Oceana, Liquid and Lava, as well as a number of unbranded sites.
It reported "good progress" in its strategy to transform the business into a focused late night nightclub business.
Sales from the dancing division fell 4.7 per cent on a like-for-like basis in the six months to August 31, but Luminar said the performance since then had been encouraging with a 4.3 per cent improvement at branded sites.
Pretax profits on continuing operations were down in the six months to #6.7 million, from #15 million a year earlier.
Sales were up 3.8 per cent to #99.4 million.
As part of plans for the entertainment side, Luminar said it would dispose of the business to a new company in which it will retain a minority stake. The sale-and-leaseback of freehold properties will contribute to proceeds and added to the company’s plan to return surplus cash to shareholders.
Luminar currently has 99 dancing venues and 116 entertainment division and other non-core sites, taking its total number of outlets to 215. Luminar has set a target of operating from 120 units.
The company intends to use the proceeds of the disposal to start its share buyback plans in the second half. Luminar previously stated it intends to return #70 million to shareholders over three years.
It also announced leisure industry veteran Alan Jackson would become chairman from December 5.