CeX: A dream franchise for gadet lovers

Essential for modern life, technology is also proving an exciting and dynamic retail market for franchisees. Derin Ibrahim reports

Having recently joined the British Franchise Association (bfa) as an Associate Member and with five new franchisees set to open across the country, CeX is going from strength to strength. With 38 stores that enable customers to buy and sell part-exchange quality used technology and entertainment at great prices and with a 12-month warranty, the company allows consumers to keep up with ever changing technical products in an affordable and reliable way.

With technology at the forefront of modern life and demand for the latest gadgets going from strength to strength, CeX is set to continue its growth. The company is looking to achieve national coverage within the next five years. It is, therefore, a great opportunity for motivated and determined individuals to help expand the business across the UK.

There are already three franchised stores on the UK high street, and with 14 years of experience, not only is the business model a proven success but also a great deal of expertise and knowledge is waiting to be passed on to new franchisees.

'I launched my business in September 2006, but not before an extensive period of tailored training, which was great,' discloses franchisee Stephen Boult. 'I had three initial days working in a busy CeX shop when I first showed interest just so I could see if it was for me. A few months before I opened I had around six to eight weeks working full time, learning the trade in the CeX stores. I loved the experience - it was fantastic preparation for the opening of my own shop.

'Leading up to the opening, CeX staff helped prepare the shop, managed the stock and, along with my own new team, lent some key roving CeX managers to assist. You're not left on your own until you are ready.

'CeX's internal support structure is very good - I couldn't ask for more. I regularly receive advice and guidance from the directors but also benefit from the knowledge of everyone else involved: the IT team, the marketing team, the stock control team and, of course, the management team. This gives you everything you need to run and nurture your new business.

'Along the way I've been helped by Jon Cronin who leads the CeX marketing team - they're very pro-active. Jon has spent a couple of days working from my shop since we opened, helping me tweak and improve the marketing aspects of the business. Nothing, within reason, is too much trouble for CeX as long as you're the sort of person who is dedicated and prepared to fully commit to the concept.'

Kasim Ali opened the pilot franchise store three years ago. 'The business has since gone from strength to strength,' he explains. 'In the beginning it was very important to find the right store location. My premises had low overheads but still had high visibility - this was a real help in getting the business onto its feet. 'My first two years were a great success and this gave me the capital to open a second store in Tunbridge Wells at the end of last year. I now split my time between the two stores, taking on a managerial role, overseeing the business as a whole. I have individual store managers who look after each shop, as well as a great team of employees across both stores. CeX enables you to really grow the business and manage a number of shops.

'CeX puts a lot of effort into helping you build a successful business. Franchisees also benefit from a solid ongoing support programme that includes regular visits from the Franchise Director, who at other times is always available by phone to assist with any questions. CeX is totally dedicated to looking after franchisees.

'You need previous retail or management expereince, everything else you need to know can be taught by CeX. Although it can be hard work, I enjoy what I do, I put more of myself into it and this has resulted in my ongoing success. If you have enthusiasm for gadgets, games and electronic goods, CeX is the franchise you have been looking for.'

So confident is CeX in its franchise opportunity, the company is offering a 'Buy Back Guarantee'* for new franchisees. The offer is for a limited time only and subject to conditions, however if the franchise does not meet the franchisee's expectations then CeX will refund stock, shop build and fit costs and take over the store management and running costs.