The Cash Generator concept has been developed with three income streams to enable it to flourish in a variety of market conditions. With economic uncertainty widespread, Founder Brian Lewis talks to Stuart Anderson about the possibility that there is a major change taking place in the British economy
'Nearly everyone that has shown an interest in our franchise since Christmas has shared the same concern: are the good times over?' reveals Brian Lewis, who took over the Chairmanship of the British Franchise Association in 2004.
'The majority opinion appears to be that for most people in society spending habits and cash reserve levels are under pressure. The average consumer is unable to enjoy the lifestyle that was flourishing five or six years ago due to almost hidden increases in taxes and the cost of living. With personal borrowing at its highest level in British history, many people that were enticed to 'buy now pay later' are finding that paying later is painful.
'This drop in consumer confidence is causing serious declines in turnover for some of the leading high street retailers. Obviously we don't know how deep this slowdown will become, but many people are talking of the 'R' word.
'Most global economists have declared that the price of oil - at over US$60 a barrel -must have an adverse effect on raw material prices and cause damaging costs to economies. Indeed some are forecasting that oil prices may reach US$100 a barrel, and it is conceivable that such a rate would force the closure of many businesses globally and throw millions out of work. The UK does not seem to have yet experienced this challenge, but the economists tell us it is on its way.'
Brian founded Cash Generator in 1994 during the last British recession, and developed a business model with a three tiered income stream to maximise the profit potential of each store and benefit each franchisee in difficult and good times.
'The most common praise given by our franchisees is that the three main areas of income safeguard their futures,' Brian reflects. 'Second-hand goods turnover in the UK has grown astronomically in the past few years, and there is big demand for the bargain value of Cash Generator's new and pre-used retail goods offering. In addition, our franchisees' stores earn from buy-back fees and pawn broking transactions, and income is generated by cheque cashing and personal loans are continuing to grow impressively.'
With 80 stores established across the UK, Cash Generator has become a recognised name on the high street and positions itself as the most successful 'buy and sell' group in the UK. 'When I first established Cash Generator 11 years ago I was hopeful that British consumers would be receptive to our offering,' Brian recalls. 'Fortunately for us, the British seem to have an insatiable appetite for value for money goods and instant cash availability. It is a fact that when people want money they tend to want it as quickly as possible and will pay a fee for the advantage of instant access to cash - Cash Generator provides that access.
'We obviously hope that the doom and gloom shown by some economists is not going to push the country into even more challenging times, but whatever the outcome in the economy the Cash Generator network of franchisees are delighted that they chose this business to invest in.'