Luminar, the nightclub group led by Stephen Thomas, has reported a 1.6% increase in like-for-like sales for the financial year before February 28. The like-for-like analysis include 71 nightclubs – of which 44 were the branded clubs like Oceana, Liquid and Lava & Ignite. The group revealed that like-for-like sales at those outlets had increased by 4.8%. The nightclub operator reported underlying earnings (ebitda) of £60.5m – up 9.2% on the same period last year – on revenues up 1.9% to £201.3m. And it said ebitda per unit had increased to £0.7m and that the trend was set to continue in the new financial year. It said like-for-like sales were already up 1.9% in the first ten weeks of the new financial year and that branded like-for-likes were up by 7.5%. Thomas, chief executive, said: “Important steps have been achieved during the year and since the year end, to transform Luminar into the highest quality late-night destination estate in the UK. “Through the quality of the its brands and products, the resilience of its customer base and management's experience and understanding of the market, the group is trading well. “We are confident of delivering further progress in the current year.” The nightclub boss also told M&C Report he believed that Luminar was well place to handle any forthcoming economic crisis. “I believe that wed-led high street businesses are going to suffer,” he said. “But what we offer is unmatchable on the high street. For £20 you can go to a supermarket and stock up on alcohol and sit in front of your 42-inch television. But what we offer cannot be recreated at home. You can't offer what we do in a pub – and that is the difference.” And he said it was the branded clubs that Luminar offered that had put the business in such a strong position. He said: “The nightclub business has started to become a product driven business and that is down to us. We are not quite there yet, but soon, national advertising of our products will come to the fore.” The group also announced this morning that it had seen significant cost reductions to date. An Oceana unit now costs £103 per square foot and Liquid costs £99 per square foot. The group said it intends to reduce those costs even further and Thomas added that improved material buying policy had helped with the reductions. And it added that total dividends for the year, subject to shareholder approval, will be 19.32 pence per share – up 12.3%.