Karen Jones, chief executive of the managed pub business Spirit Group, has identified three concepts that she plans to roll-out through the estate.Speaking exclusively to thePublican.com, Ms Jones said she planned to expand Bar Room Bar, the laid-back lounge-bar concept from 15 to 100 outlets.The chief executive plans to develop the food-pub offering Two for One, where customers get two meals for the price of one, from the existing 40 outlets to 300, and the local community pub concept, Q's, from 40 to between 200 and 300 venues."We have enough in our estate to feed the pipeline," said the Spirit boss. "We will pick and choose the site very carefully, and whatever we do, 40 to 50 per cent of our business will revolve around our local unbranded pubs." Ms Jones also said that after a two-year transitional period, the business was in a position to look at acquisition opportunities to add to the existing 1,043-strong estate. The former retail arm of the Punch Group was recently re-named Spirit Group as part of a de-merger process that should see both businesses float on the stock market. The company is still in the process of splitting the £2bn debt it shares with the Punch Pub Company. The businesses are making separate financial arrangements in preparation for public status. Ms Jones said that company does not necessarily need to float but that it would clearly quicken the company's growth.Punch Pub Company was expected to float this spring but the company has now entered the battle for the Nomura pub groups, Unique and Voyager. It is thought that the company will delay flotation until later in the year if it is selected as the preferred bidder.It is understood that Spirit would seek a listing after the Punch Pub Company, perhaps early next year.
Karen Jones is responsible for reviving the fortunes of Spirit Group, the renamed retail arm of Punch, over the past two years. We meet her.