Your own O2 store: Apply for one of its first ever UK franchises

O2 has opened its first franchised retail store in the UK, in line with its development programme. Nicola Green reports

Launched in August 2005, O2's development programme will help increase its presence across the high street establishing the brand as the best place to shop for mobile phones in the UK.

Daniel Fountain, an O2 employee for five years, has opened his store in Rotherham shopping centre, which will soon benefit from a £20 million regeneration scheme. Supported by the O2 franchise team, Daniel sourced the property and managed the shop re-fit himself. He states:

'It's great that I can open the first O2 franchise in my home region and with the regeneration plans, Rotherham is a prime site.

'There is currently a high level of competition among mobile operators on the high street so bringing the strong O2 brand, fantastic customer service and great deals will be a great thing for the people of Rotherham. My focus will be on providing first rate customer service with a local feel so that my store stands out on the high street. I'll be drawing upon the strengths of O2's brand, systems, services and products, and my knowledge of and passion for the region, to create an unrivalled shopping experience.'

The franchise initiative is part of a broader programme to significantly expand O2's pan-UK store portfolio from its current 3,010 stores. The company is already operating a successful franchise programme in Germany, where it today operates over 300 franchise and partner outlets.

O2 UK Sales Director Mark Stansfeld comments: 'By increasing our store footprint we want to offer all customers across the UK the opportunity to experience our unparalleled customer service regardless of location. Customer loyalty is more fragile then ever and the winners in the UK market will be those who keep and inspire their customers better than anyone else. Rotherham is an area that our current store network does not reach, so we're delighted to be giving a former employee, who understands the O2 brand, the opportunity to take it into an area that he knows very well.'

All proposed franchise stores will complement existing O2 retail stores and will not affect any current stores, or any that are planned under the existing expansion programme.