CeX: Funky, CeXy, ready for first franchisees
An established brand with over 20 stores and a loyal customer base, CeX is expanding its second-hand buy and sell entertainment network through franchising. Rachel Spaul reports
The word on the high street is that CeX is a funky, energetic and enthusiastic company with a genuine passion for all things 'gadgety'. Product ranges in videogames, DVD, mobile phones, electronics and computing line the shelves of its 20 plus company-owned stores in England and Wales, attracting all manner of customers including dedicated gamers, movie buffs, gadget lovers and virtually anyone who uses a mobile phone. Following the success of the first pilot franchise established in Croydon in summer 2004 and the launch of a second in Barcelona, CeX is offering franchises nationwide in the UK to candidates who can finance around £100,000, and who share the company's enthusiasm and vision.
'The market potential is huge,' declares Franchise Director Hugh Man. 'Users are embracing digital devices in greater numbers. The UK has more mobile phones than people, with customers upgrading yearly. The range of DVD movies has grown, as has the market for movie collecting. The videogames market has developed from a niche pastime into a mainstream entertainment medium and breakthrough technology such as iPods and digital cameras continue to evolve their capability.'
CeX specialises in the buying and selling of quality second-hand products from its five complementary product ranges. Its specialist stores provide alternatives to buying new and give customers the opportunity to exchange unwanted items. Through a high-tech website, customers can check real-time product availability or obtain an estimate for an items exchange.
Each store has access to a customer 0845 number direct to the head office call centre and a sophisticated EPOS system catered to selling second-hand products with automated pricing updates. 'The business model may sound complicated, but we have made it simple with our systems, knowledge and experience. We provide full initial and ongoing training in the operation of the business, IT, customer care skills, buying and selling, etc. Franchisees will also benefit from hands-on head office support in marketing, IT, product and general business guidance,' assures Hugh.
Kasim Ali, the CeX pilot franchisee, opened his Croydon store in June 2004 having previously worked as a CeX Stock Control Manager. Having made the decision to become his own boss, he was offered the opportunity to become the pilot franchisee by the management team.
'Kasim's first year success is indicative of the potential of a CeX franchise,' reflects Hugh. 'It's a business that works when the economy is booming, and even better when it is less buoyant.'
If you love gadgets and entertainment, or are business minded and recognise the enormous potential buying and selling second-hand quality products presents, you could be suited to becoming a CeX franchisee. 'While an interest in the products we sell and retail experience would be an advantage, they are not essential,' Hugh states. 'We're looking for enthusiastic people with a passion for the business.'