Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

300 jobs go as 11 nightclubs close

The Lava and Ignite night club in Northampton is one of 11 to be closed by owners Luminar

Around 300 nightclub staff across the UK are set to lose their jobs after the administrator of Luminar announced the closure of 11 loss-making venues.

Luminar, which runs Liquid, Oceana and Lava & Ignite clubs in town centres across the UK, collapsed into administration last month after lenders refused to extend a recent period of leniency on its £90 million debts.

Administrator Ernst & Young said the closures represented an acceleration of a turnaround plan for the business and the clubs being closed had already been identified as "non-core".

But Ernst & Young said Luminar's remaining 65 clubs will continue to trade as normal as the administrator seeks a potential buyer.

Alan Hudson, the joint administrator, added that the closures leave a core estate of profitable clubs which have attracted interest from a number of potential buyers.

The clubs to close are in Brighton, Bury St Edmunds, Basingstoke, Wigan, Hemel Hempstead, High Wycombe, Northampton, Mansfield, Redditch, Sunderland and Swindon.

The Lava & Ignite club being closed in Northampton is where student Nabila Nanfuka, 22, of Neasden, north-west London, was crushed to death last month after revellers stampeded.

The club had its licence suspended after the incident; however, Ernst & Young said the decision to close it was not related to the fatal accident, but due to its poor trading performance.

Luminar has suffered amid the financial gloom as its core market of 18 to 24-year-olds has been hit by high levels of youth unemployment. It recorded losses of £198 million in the year to the end of February as sales dropped by 19% to £137 million.

Its lenders - Barclays and taxpayer-backed Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds - threw it a lifeline in May when they agreed to waive banking covenants on a temporary basis to allow the business time to turn itself around, but pulled the plug last month.

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