The CeX revolution

What started as a novel business idea between four friends has developed into one of the largest and fastest growing second-hand entertainment franchises in the UK

Back in the 1990s, when entertainment products were entering a new era of technology, a group of friends – who were tired of paying hefty prices for entertainment goods and gadgets – decided to start their own business that would offer second-hand oldies-but-still-goodies at knockdown prices. That was the start of entertainment company, Complete entertainment eXchange (CeX).

One of those ambitious individuals who dreamt up CeX was Hugh Man, who still works closely with the company as Franchise Director. Since establishing the first CeX store on Tottenham Court Road, London, in 1992, Hugh and his fellow founders have watched their business grow into an international success.

Eager to get the CeX concept out to the nation, in 2005 the company’s Directors decided to franchise their proven and increasingly popular business model.

“I was very excited about franchising CeX, as we had been preparing for the moment when the business was mature enough to replicate,” explains Hugh. “It has been a steep learning curve but a fascinating and exciting journey.”

When CeX launched its franchise opportunity, its aim was to open 100 stores within five years – a target that was successfully achieved, and exceeded.

“It was and still is our intention to expand with corporate stores and franchised stores operating in tandem. This strategy in the UK has allowed us to accelerate our overall expansion from 25 stores in 2006 to 144 in 2011.”

Over the years, the buy, sell or exchange concept of the CeX business model has attracted franchise owners from a variety of backgrounds, all of who share the CeX passion of providing quality entertainment goods at affordable prices.


“The CeX business tends to attract passionate, hardworking men and women from diverse backgrounds,” explains Hugh. “Franchising a successful business model must not be taken light heartedly or as a side line occupation, as it requires full-time dedication along with professional advice, hard work, lots of support and a significant budget for marketing and other costs.”

Over the 20 years that CeX has been bringing its customers the latest and greatest in entertainment goods and gadgets, Hugh has enjoyed many professional and personal achievements.


“The people I have met along the way in the franchising world have inspired me and greatly enhanced my business acumen and enriched my life,” says Hugh. “I consider myself very fortunate to be involved in a very successful business model and am delighted that we (CeX) are able to share our knowledge, systems and experience to create wealth for others. We have several franchise owners with multiple stores who are now millionaires.”

With a new store opening almost every week, CeX is quickly becoming a leader in the second-hand entertainment market and is set to expand further into international territories.

“We’ll continue to grow the brand across the UK, Spain, Ireland and beyond,” reveals Hugh. “CeX corporate stores have expanded to the USA and India, and franchising these territories is the next step. We also intend to look for new Master Franchise Owners in new territories.”

With the CeX business model continuing to thrive in both good and bad economic times and proving to be increasingly popular with the conscientious shopper, the future looks bright for Complete entertainment eXchange franchise owners.

Written by Tiffany Brooking