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Going clubbing

Aug 13, 2012
Paul Evans recently sold his international relocation and moving company, Interdean, to the public Danish company EAC (the owners of Santa Fe Group).

At the end of May this year he retired from the moving industry.  Many, with a few pounds in the bank, would take the easy route of indulging in a few hobbies and keeping the garden tidy – but not Paul.  He very much believes that working is like a spinning top: if you stop, you fall over! Paul’s going clubbing!

Clubbing in this context does not mean a quick trip down the local disco. Paul doesn’t do things by halves. No, for Paul, going clubbing means buying the UK’s largest chain of nightclubs.  Well, what did you expect?

Until a few years ago, Luminar Plc had around 300 nightclubs in the UK.  Unfortunately, in 2006 the government introduced a smoking ban in public places, thereby reducing the number of people going to nightclubs at a stroke; pubs were allowed extended opening hours so the need to decant to a club was less pressing for many; and the recession hit. 

“It was not a good time to be in the club business,” explained Stephen Lynn, the company’s Head of Marketing.  “The business was largely being run by the banks. In the summer of 2011 they got really nervous and put the business into administration.”

That was when Paul and three business colleagues came along. Paul and his co-investors brought in a heavyweight board with the experience to make the venture a success. The company is now run by Peter Marks, the former CEO of Northern Leisure.

The new company, The Luminar Group, formed on 9 December 2011, now has over 55 clubs across the UK.  Ten are branded Oceana, 20 carry the Liquid brand, five are branded Lava Ignite, and the remaining are own-branded to fit with the local community.  They see around 10 million visitors each year.  

“We are now very much focussed on customer service,” explained Peter. “When I went to clubs in my youth it was a question of getting past the bouncers on the door.  It’s not that way any more.”

The Luminar Group’s brands use very attractive buildings to maintain the right atmosphere.  Its branch of Oceana in Kingston-on-Thames is the UK’s busiest nightclub. Around 200,000 people visit the Group’s venues every weekend, and they are not, as might be expected, all 20-somethings.

“Our core market is the 18-24 age group,” explained Peter, “but we cater for other groups too.”  For example, under the brand Love Social, Luminar opens its doors to under 18s and works with other brands, such as New Look, to bring the kids a truly unique experience.  The company’s Fuzzy Logic brand caters for the lucrative student market and sees one million visitors every year through 35 of its clubs. The corporate market too is an important sector with Orange, KPMG, IKEA, McDonalds, and Deloitte among those booking the venues for staff parties, conferences and business meetings.

The club scene is a very long way from the moving industry.  But Paul has a reputation of having the knack of spotting a good buy and the business experience to create success from the ashes of failure.  The next time you fancy a night out, a retirement party, or any form of celebration, where better than a Luminar nightclub to let your hair down a little?

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