CeX: Gadget Lovers, Upgrade your ambitions

If you're looking for a franchise with a passion for gadgets, CeX could be the business for you. Derin Ibrahim reports.

Technology is being updated at a speed that has never been seen before, and to keep up consumers are constantly throwing away their old gadgets to purchase new ones. This is not only bad for the bank balance but it is not environmentally friendly either. However, the CeX concept of buying and selling used technological goods benefits both consumer's finances and the environment. With the company offering franchise opportunities throughout the UK it could benefit those thinking of becoming a franchisee as well.

Founded in 1992 CeX currently has over 35 stores across the UK, three of which are franchised. Additionally, new franchises are set to open this year. A haven for gadget lovers CeX buys and sells part-exchange quality used technology and entertainment goods at competitive prices and a 12-month warranty.
With CeX stores becoming a familiar sight on high streets across the UK, the company is seeking gadget-loving individuals to assist its expansion by investing in a franchise. 'Through franchising we aim to achieve national coverage, making our goods and services widely available and the CeX name synonymous with affordable technology,' explains Hugh Man, Franchise Director of CeX. 'We're an energetic and enthusiastic retail brand seeking like-minded individuals keen to make substantial profits from the buying and selling of second-hand products.'

Demand for new technology shows no sign of slowing down with consumers' want and need for the latest gadgets aiding the growth of the market. Hugh reveals: 'The market potential is huge. The videogame is massive, with its estimated value now rivalling that of the movie business. We currently store the buy and sell prices of over 100,000 lines. DVD has entered the living room faster than any previous device and in the fast moving world of computers, upgrading to keep ahead is paramount for technology buffs. From MP3 players to digital cameras and the huge range of associated memory cards, electronics is our fastest growing stock line. Our mobile phone ranges also continue to grow, after all who doesn't have a mobile phone?'

CeX not only talks about the potential of its business but also demonstrates its confidence in the franchise with its 'Buy Back Guarantee' offer. Available for a limited time and subject to conditions, 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. Working as a CeX Stock Control Manager for seven years Kasim Ali's confidence in the concept was strong enough for him to decide to open the pilot franchise store three years ago. Since then his franchise has been so successful that last year he opened his second outlet in Tunbridge Wells. 'I now split my time between the two stores, taking on a managerial role, overseeing the business as a whole,' says Kasim. '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.'

The support structure CeX offers was of great benefit to Stephen Boult, who launched his franchise in Hemel Hempstead last year: 'I had three initial days working in a busy 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 shops. 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 CeX roving managers to assist. You are not left on your own at any time, and when you are ready to strike out on your own they let you go.'

Although the main requirements CeX looks for in potential franchisees is previous retail or management experience, other qualities can assist in operating a successful franchise, as Stephen explains: 'You need to be very self-motivated, commercially aware and able to commit to long hours in the early days but it's like anything in life - the more you put in, the more you get out. CeX is a great concept and I find it fascinating. I can enjoy my daily work and improve my financial position. I couldn't ask for more.'