Payne, who added that he expects the managed pub operator to deliver like-for-like growth this financial year, told M&C Report the 75-strong Slug & Lettuce arm has been delivering double-digit growth for the past three years.
Stonegate has “a number of target towns” for the concept. “We have outperformed the high street for three years by a mile.”
Payne said Stonegate has recently converted three Litten Tree sites to Yates’s — in Hereford, Bedford and Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands. “They’re doing fantastically well,” he said. “We would love to find another 20 to 25 sites for Yates’s but we’ve still got a few Litten Trees left that we’re going to convert over time.”
Meanwhile, Stonegate has converted three of its student-focused Scream sites into a more traditional pub format, called Trad Locals, aimed at maintaining trade outside term-time. The sites are the Adelphi in Preston, the Haworth Arms in Hull and the Royal George in Cardiff.
“They are ex-Screams that are now traditional businesses. They’re doing very well.” Asked if more could be converted to the format, Payne said: “It’s something we will be watching very closely.”
Stonegate has also appointment its first head of recruitment in an expanded role that will include more focus on regional recruitment. Holly Cunnington joins from Musgrave Retail Partners.