Stonegate's Common Room concept set to grow

By John Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

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The Southfield in Middlesborough saw sales grow by 60% post-conversion
The Southfield in Middlesborough saw sales grow by 60% post-conversion
Stonegate, the managed operator, expects to have another dozen sites converted to its evolved student-bar concept Common Room by the end of summer, after sales grew 60% at the first outlet to operate under the format, chief executive Toby Smith has told the Publican's Morning Advertiser's sister title M&C Report.

He also said Stonegate could look beyond sites that are currently branded Scream, its established student brand, for conversion to Common Room.

A student 'home from home'

The first Common Room — which is billed as a student ‘home from home’, featuring fast Wi-Fi, craft beer and televised sport — opened last year at the Southfield in Middlesbrough.

“It was the perfect site to do,” said Smith. “It was almost on campus. What we tried to do was build a business where people visit multiple times a day, so they almost use it like a common room.

“They might come in the morning, drink coffee, do some work, come back at lunchtime, have a sandwich and a soft drink, then they might come at night, watch sport, have a beer. ”

He said sales at the Southfield have grown 60% post-conversion, “on what was a terrific site anyway”.

Upcoming conversions

The next sites to be converted to the format, the Library in Leeds, West Yorkshire, and the Cavendish in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, which both opened in mid-January, have “gone off like trains”, Smith said.

“We’re looking to do a handful more at Easter. By the end of the summer we would expect to have another dozen [in addition to the three]. They are phenomenally successful.”

Conversions to date have been from existing Scream sites. Smith said: “I think the success and the confidence that the first three have given us means we do feel as though it’s something we should look at further than the Scream estate.”

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