The world's biggest strip club businesses say that business is booming despite the recession, proving that "sex entertainment" still sells despite the global economic downturn. The strip club workers, however, tell a different story.
Peter Stringfellow, who operates the namesake chain of "girl clubs", told CNBC that his business had been protected from the downturn due to its upmarket brand.
Stringfellow opened two clubs in central London in 1996 and 2006 and during his time in the club business since 1980, he has survived through two recessions and a bankruptcy.
"I am now protected at Stringfellows by the fame of the club," he said. "My second club, 'Angels', has developed into the second most successful club(…)but it has taken more time."
Since 1993, the U.K. has seen a proliferation of strip clubs as changes to the government's Licensing Act meant that strip clubs no longer needed a special license for nudity. The change in the rules saw the number of clubs double and it is estimated that there are 300 strip clubs operating in the U.K.in an industry reportedly worth 2.1 billion pounds ($2.7 billion).
In 2010, the U.K. government changed licensing laws in order to regulate the industry, meaning that clubs are now licensed as "sex entertainment" venues. The clubs have become a common sight on London's streets from inconspicuous basement clubs to several high-profile venues in central London.
Stringfellow, whose two clubs employs 140 people full-time and 200 self-employed dancers, told CNBC that his clientele remained loyal to his venues, though he had seen a decline in the middle income customer as the U.K.'s economic downturn hit the domestic market and consumer spending.