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Hogshead name may be scrapped

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The Hogshead pub chain is under review and the brand may be scrapped altogether.

A spokeswoman for its owner Laurel Pub Company said: “We are looking at where we need to take the brand, if indeed the brand remains.”

The 121 Hogsheads were originally part of Whitbread’s pubs division, which Laurel’s parent company Morgan Grenfell Private Equity bought last year.

Another brand that Laurel inherited from Whitbread is also undergoing change. Four Dome bars are being taken over by Vodka Bar Management (VBM) in a new joint venture.

The former Domes, following a £100,000 re-fit, are to become brands already created and operated by VBM. Three sites open as Babushka bars in Hampstead, London on 27 June, and Chelsea and Nottingham the following week. The former Dome at Smithfield, London, opens as a Moroccan-themed Bed Bar also next week.

A Laurel spokeswoman said the group was open to external entrepreneurial expertise to maximise the value of its assets, and hoped to convert further sites under the venture.

VBM’s managing director Gary Hibbard said he had a weekly sales target of £40,000 for the Hampstead Babushka, which can house up to 420 people. Laurel is keeping the remaining two Domes in London’s West End, which it said were trading well.

The company is seeking to expand its 629-strong managed estate after selling 1,870 tenanted and leased pubs to Enterprise Inns for £875m earlier this year.

The majority of the cash from the sale went to reducing debt.

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