CeX: Rolling out its new-tech retail franchise concept nationwide.

CeX is rolling out its new franchise concept nationwide, and with the franchisee recruitment just starting, territories are available nationwide. Stuart Anderson reports

'The iPod has been phenomenal for our business,' says CeX (Complete entertainment Exchange) Franchise Director Hugh Man. 'It is currently our fastest growing product.'

This momentum has carried over into the CeX network, which recently saw three new outlets opened in Leicester, Brighton and Sheffield. 'We now have 25 locations operating (23 of which are company-owned), and our Croyden franchisee is also about to open the doors of his second store,' Hugh reveals. 'With continued growth in the markets we trade in, boosted by the rapid turnaround of new technology and launch of new platforms such as the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3, our business model is proving extremely popular and we have had hundreds of enquiries from prospective franchisees.'

CeX stores specialise in the buying and selling of quality second-hand technology and entertainment products, dividing its main product lines into five 'Super Categories': Videogames, DVDs, Computing, Electronics and Mobile Phones. As well as offering customers an opportunity to exchange their unwanted goods for cash, CeX stores provide 12-month warranties and attractive prices on all goods sold.

The stores are supported by an interactive website, which enables customers to check real-time product availability and obtain estimates on items for exchange. All pricing is updated automatically via a sophisticated EPOS system.

Established for 14 years, CeX has extensive knowledge and experience to provide franchisees, and has developed optimal buying and selling prices and product demand and supply curves, which enable franchisees to avoid stock shortages or surpluses. 'This is a business that works when the economy is booming and even better when it is less buoyant,' reflects Hugh. 'The UK is the world's third largest market for videogames. Over the past 10 years 20.8 million games consoles and hand-helds were sold. In 2005 the new hand-held Sony and Nintendo consoles and Microsoft's Xbox 360 were introduced.

The Sony PS3 and Nintendo Revolution are due to arrive later this year... and this is just one of the markets CeX serves.

'DVD has entered the living room faster than any previous consumer electronic 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 Super Category. In terms of mobile phones, 88 per cent* of 11-14 year olds own a mobile phone, compared to 39 per cent in 2000 and by the end of 2006, 3G phones will reach double-digit penetration. All of these innovations provide compelling reasons for consumers to sell their older technology to CeX.

Set to open his second store, Croyden franchisee Kasim Ali previously worked within the company as Stock Control Manager. 'The business model is recession-proof,' he endorses. 'Every product we stock traditionally has a cyclical pattern. The beauty of CeX's second-hand model is that we are able to manipulate the buy and sell prices to smooth out seasonal lows in demand.'

CeX is searching for business minded people who love gadgets to take part in its nationwide store roll-out as franchisees. '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,' says Hugh. 'While an interest in the products we sell and retail experience would be an advantage, they are not essential. We provide full initial and ongoing training in the operation of the business, IT, bespoke EPOS, pricing, marketing, customer care skills, and buying and selling.'