Does a future in retail lie in store for you?

Retail franchises are among some of the most successful as they include many opportunities that use a well-known high street name and a tried and tested business model

The rewards that come from owning a retail business are some of the most lucrative in the franchising world, but they usually require a greater level of investment than many other opportunities.

Franchise opportunities that fall under the retail umbrella vary greatly in their business type. They can include brands as diverse as pre-owned good stores, including CeX and Cash Converters, food outlets like McDonald’s, Subway and Domino’s Pizza, and home improvement specialists such as Dream Doors and Granite Transformations.

According to The British Retail Consortium, retail sales in the UK last year were more than £303 billion and accounted for more than a third of consumer spending.

Not surprisingly, a number of retail chains and franchises are becoming an increasing presence in towns and cities not only across the UK, but the entire world, as successful stores decide franchising their business is the best way forward.

“Our move into franchising signalled a new focus at Rohan on developing and improving our retail operations,” explains Ian Palmer, Retail Director at Rohan.

“Our franchise opportunity benefits from our extensive merchandising operation, which restocks sold items within 48 hours and provides the franchise owner with a retail proposition in which no capital is tied up in stock.”

A retail franchise requires significant overheads in commercial premises and shop fitting, as well as paying staff and utilities and other costs, in order to operate a high-yield business system. This can then often be sold at a profit, should the franchise owner wish to capitalise on the investment.

One of the advantages of owning a retail franchise is that they are often situated in busy shopping areas. This not only helps to raise the profile of the brand, but also helps franchise owners to attract passing trade.

Often retail franchises will sell products that are purchased by consumers no mater what the economic situation. Some retail franchises, such as pre-owned good stores and pizza delivery franchises, see many of their stores preform better during periods of economic difficulties.

Troy Tappenden, Managing Director of Dream Doors, adds: “A retail franchise is very different from those that are home or van-based.

“Typically the start-up costs will be much higher, and there will be immediate fixed costs to consider. Once established though, the returns should reflect that initial investment.”

Check out the options

The best way to decide what kind of retail franchise you want to invest in is to ascertain two factors: what your interests are and where your expertise lies.

If you are interested in and passionate about technology and video games, you may wish to look at opening a CeX store. Or if you have past experience working in interior design, you may want to invest in a showroom-based franchise.

However, past experience is not usually a prerequisite to owning a franchise, as the franchisor will provide you with all the training and tools you will require to start and run a successful business.

That said, it would undoubtedly be helpful to have some interest in the industry you want to join. After all, you will be dedicating a great deal of time to making your business a success so you will want to make sure you will also enjoy it.

Food & drink

Many food-related businesses – including such franchise giants as McDonald’s and KFC – as well as coffee shops and packaged food retailers operate from retail locations.

Food retail franchises can be time consuming and require lots of work, but can provide rewarding results as well.

Clothing & fashion

Clothing stores are some of the most popular in the retail market, providing a significant portion of retail revenue. There are opportunities to open shops specialising in outdoor wear, women’s, men’s and children’s clothing.

Clothing stores continue to thrive because people prefer to try before they buy.

Buy & sell

All shoppers like to find a bargain and buy and sell franchise opportunities provide the owner of this kind of shop with a number of revenue streams including selling new products as well as buying good quality used products from the public and selling them on.

Home improvement

With the housing market in a state of flux at present, people have been turning increasingly towards improving their homes, or carrying out much-needed repairs.

Beauty & male grooming

A beauty or male grooming retail shop can range from a store that sells beauty products to a hair salon.

These retail franchises, such as Taylor of Old Bond Street and Glamour Secrets, provide great brand name recognition, and offer an opportunity to capitalise on products that women and men are inclined to buy, regardless of the economy.

Tools & equipment

Utilising van-based showrooms, retail franchises like Mac Tools sell tools and equipment for professional use. They are able to showcase and sell tools for the motor industry or the home repair industry via their mobile showrooms.

Office products

There are many retail franchise opportunities available for office products, such as mailing supplies, computer supplies and various paper supplies.

This type of retail location allows consumers or businesses to buy important business supplies immediately.

Greeting cards

These franchises often provide merchandise such as greeting cards and other small gift products to retailers who then sell them.

Greeting card retail franchises, such as Card Connection, are a popular home-based opportunity that allow you to work closely with retailers and sell a quality product while not having to run a retail outlet yourself.

Written by Fraser McKay