Retail franchises prepare for the busiest time of the year

In a recovering economy, retail franchise owners will be looking to capitalise over the Christmas and New Year period and perform strongly, with consumers having more disposable income in their pockets

We are in the midst of the busiest and most important time of year for retail brands. High street retail was hit harder than most sectors during the financial crisis of recent years, and in an environment of a nascent recovery where the economy is seemingly gathering strength, hopes and expectations for a solid performance in the festive season become stronger this year.

This line of thinking is reflected in the fact that today, the retail sector provides employment to more than 10 per cent of the UK workforce, accounts for more than five per cent of the value generated by the UK economy each year, and contributes some £17.5 billion in taxes to the country.

However, 2013 promised much and ended up delivering very little for high street brands against the backdrop of an inexorable swing in favour of online shopping and Christmas shoppers still feeling the pinch and lacking disposable income as prices for the basics- food, fuel and household bills- continue to climb. The outlook remains murky, with an increase in store closures in the first half of the year in town centres and the collapse of high-profile businesses including Phones4u and La Senza overshadowing more positive news from other retailers, of whom 48 per cent reported an increase in sales to CBI compared to just 17 per cent stating a decline. Therefore, is 2014 the time for a change in strategy? Franchising has made a huge contribution to the retail sector and has long provided the perfect roadmap for successful brands to expand, both across the UK and internationally, while affording much-needed security to the owners of well-performing brands.

Retail Franchise Owners and franchisors must work together to better capitalise on the Christmas and New Year sales opportunities, and the former should expect a solid and coherent strategy from the franchisor to enable the strongest possible performance during this time.