So perhaps unsurprisingly, given the current economic turbulence, Britain's most famous chain of lapdancing clubs appears to have been experiencing a bumpy ride of its own.
In the week that it applied to run the country's first 24-hour lapdancing club, in London's Tottenham Court Road, Spearmint Rhino has filed accounts showing that it ran up a loss of £2.1m in 2011.
The figure – some £1.4m more than the loss from the previous year – was despite the company's clubs pulling in an impressive £9.9m in revenue, up from £8.5m the previous year.
But the chain's critics are unlikely to shed too many tears. "Any profit that lapdancing clubs like Spearmint Rhino make is off the back of exploiting women. It is time that councils use their licensing powers effectively to clamp down on these sexist sex establishments," said Anna van Heeswijk, acting chief executive of Object, the campaign group that opposes lapdancing clubs.
Operating profits at the chain fell to £429,000, down from more than £500,000, but rising administration costs and ill-fated business ventures drove the company's figures deeper into the red.
The small print reveals that the company, which paid £3.5m in wages to its 162 employees in 2011, was forced to write off a £2.8m loan to a related company. It also shows that the company's founder and director, John Gray, believed to have been paid a salary of £304,000, resigned in April and that no dividend was paid.
And there are further financial demands on the company to be resolved. The accounts reveal that the company owes HM Revenue and Customs more than £2m, which it has agreed to repay under a "time to pay" agreement.
In addition, the accounts confirm that the chain owes Spearmint Rhino Worldwide Inc, the company that owns 12 clubs in the US, almost £3m.
An HMRC spokeswoman said that it could not discuss the tax affairs of an individual business. She explained: "A time to pay arrangement is given on a case by case basis. The amount of tax and revised payment schedule can vary dependent on how much is owed and over what period of time. Interest is still payable on tax paid late, even if through a time to pay arrangement."
Spearmint Rhino's battles with the Revenue go back years. In 2007, it successfully appealed against a ruling that it had to pay VAT on the earnings of its dancers. David Milne QC, representing Spearmint Rhino, argued that the club should not pay because it was "the dancer and not the club that provided the services". The ruling meant that the chain's lapdancers were potentially liable for VAT.
Spearmint Rhino has been at the forefront of the UK's lapdancing revolution, which has seen the number of clubs soar to 300 – a 50% increase compared with 10 years ago. The Lapdancing Association claims that 25,000 people in the UK now work in an industry that generates £2bn a year.
But the rise in the number of clubs now appears to have been checked. A law change in 2009 meant that the clubs were classed as a "sex encounter venue" and subject to more stringent licensing conditions.
Many cities have now stopped granting licences to new clubs while others, notably Oxford, has declined to renew them.
Spearmint Rhino, whose Birmingham club is reputedly the largest lapdancing venue in the UK, has itself retrenched. It now runs only five clubs, compared with nine in 2008. However, its management has said it has plans to expand and to take on 60 new dancers.
Requests for comment from the company were not returned.
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