Relighting Luminar: Peter Marks reveals the ups and downs of running nightclubs

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nightclub

After saving Luminar from administration in December 2011, Peter Marks labelled the business 'a crash waiting to happen', but the nightclub veteran was convinced he could restore the industry giant to its former glory. Just over a year on, are Luminar's lights back on for good?

Luminar was once so successful it was worth more than £800m and operated more than 300 nightclubs across the UK. But the good times didn’t last and, as clubs closed down under the weight of massive debt, the industry giant collapsed in 2011.

In this exclusive video interview from the recently refurbished Moka nightclub in Crawley, the business's chief executive Marks explains why he and a group of investors bought the business out of administration a few months' later,​revealing exactly what had gone wrong.

The nightclub chain, which operates well-known venues including Oceana, Liquid, Lava and Ignite, is currently undergoing an appeal against a decision to revoke the licence of its Oceana nightclub in Kingston upon Thames following the fatal stabbing of a 20-year-old clubber.

Luminar's progress

But, while admitting that these problems of violence and drunken disorderly behaviour will never be eradicated entirely, Marks reiterated that ‘there are less incidents today than there were 30 years ago’, suggesting one-off incidents are now proliferated by the likes of 24-hour news and social media.

Commenting on Luminar's turnaround, Marks adds: “When we bought the business, it’s fair to say that there was a lot more wrong than we thought and it’s going to take us longer to get it right.

“But I’ve never been more convinced than I am today that we can turn this business round. We’ve had to fight hard for market share and we’ve had to refurbish our premises (nine have been refurbished so far).  “We’re pleased with our progress. We’re probably six months behind where we would like to be but this is not a one year turnaround programme - it’s a two or three year turnaround programme."

Related topics: Business, People, Pubs & Bars, Venues

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