CeX: "It's a Brilliant Concept"

Capitalising on the fast-paced and ongoing development of home entertainment technology, Cex is a dynamic retail concept with massive market potential. Adam Browning reports

In the fast and ever developing world of high-end electronic entertainment, CeX provides a valuable service to technology enthusiasts wishing to stay ahead of the game. The ongoing advancements of mobile phones, MP3 players, digital cameras, computers and games consoles means models are quickly updated and replaced. The CeX business model allows customers to buy-and-sell part-exchange quality second-hand technology and entertainment products at attractive prices and with a 12-month warranty - CeX is the one-stop-shop for gadget lovers.

So confident is CeX of its franchise opportunity that, for a limited period, the company is offering a 'Buy Back Guarantee' for new franchisees. Subject to conditions, CeX will refund stock, shop build and fit costs and take over the store management and running costs should the franchise not meet the franchisees' expectations.

With the rapid development of new technology driving CeX's growing success, the business is embarking on a nationwide franchise development programme. Aiming to achieve national coverage within five years, CeX is seeking motivated and determined individuals to roll out its proven business model across the UK's high streets. Developed over 14 years in 30 company owned stores, CeX is offering a fast-paced and exciting retail opportunity that's ideal for enthusiasts of electronic-entertainment .

'The market potential is huge,' reveals Franchise Director Hugh Man. 'The videogame business is massive, with its estimated value now rivalling that of the movie business. 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 product line. As well as this, our mobile phone ranges also continue to grow, after all who doesn't have a mobile phone?'

With a franchise package that is geared towards success, Hugh explains that 'franchisees will benefit from CeX's knowledge and experience of the marketplace such as optimal buying and selling prices and product supply and demand curves, which are essential to business success and avoiding stock shortages or surpluses.'

Ongoing support is provided by the senior management team including general business advice, new product updates, pricing, marketing, product repair, stock redistribution, IT, HR, the CeX public website and intranet. 'This is a business that works when the economy is booming and even better when it is less buoyant,' says Hugh.

What the Franchisees say...

Kasim Ali, Croydon

'CeX has really captured a niche market,' enthuses franchisee Kasim Ali. 'It's a brilliant concept.

'Having worked for CeX as a Stock Control Manager before I became a franchisee, I knew that CeX provided a great business opportunity. When I decided that I wanted to run my own business, I knew straight away that CeX would bring me the success I was looking for. CeX has a strong brand-name, is firmly established, has a proven business system and has a great support structure in place for franchisees.

'I opened my first store in Croydon in June 2004, and the business has since gone from strength to strength. 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 spilt 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 get started in building 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 don't necessarily need any previous retail experience as everything you need to know can be taught by CeX. All you really need is common sense, motivation and to be able to work at a managerial level. 'Although it can be hard work, I enjoy what I do and I find the business fun - if you're looking to start a business, it has to be something that you enjoy doing. I've found that because 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.

'For now I am concentrating on continuing the success of my first shop and building the second shop to a similar level. The franchise has real potential though - I'm already planning to open my third shop within the coming year.'

Stephen Boult, Hemel Hempstead

'My launch day was amazing,' reveals Stephen Boult. 'It was so successful, we were even competing with the established CeX stores. We ended up in the top end of the table for turnover on our first day and our first week smashed our budgeted turnover. The shop had been well stocked by the CeX team and the Hemel public seemed to lap it up. Even after closing, many of the CeX team that I'd come to know came over to Hemel and joined my wife and I for a celebratory meal and drinks.

'I launched my business in September 2006, but not before an extensive period of tailored training, which was great. 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 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.

'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 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.

'I'm aiming for this shop to be the first of many - I'm working hard and am looking forward to building my business. 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.'