Response to well-loved brand exceeds all expectations

Bringing huge established customer loyalty and the retail product support of an internationally respected brand into a new launch franchise opportunity has led to outdoor clothing specialist Rohan experiencing a huge response from prospective franchise owners

Outdoor clothing retailer Rohan has reported a deluge of enquiries for more information on its franchise opportunity since its launch in January. The company has confirmed that it received a strong response of firm enquiries in its first month of advertising and is now re-thinking and expanding its objectives for 2010.

Retail Director Ian Palmer reflects on the high level of interest already received: "When we introduced our franchise proposition we felt confident that we'd constructed an attractive package and were prepared for plenty of phone calls. But, if I'm honest, the sheer number of serious enquiries we've received has exceeded all our expectations. It's been really encouraging.

"What's surprised me about many of the enquiries is the amazing enthusiasm for the Rohan brand. That and the professionalism and experience that many prospective franchise owners can bring to the table. We hadn't really banked on that. So far, we've just been concentrating on making our package as attractive as we possibly could!"

Rohan is established in over 40 locations nationwide and has piloted its franchise in selected stores. The company is rolling out its franchise store concept with a recruitment campaign through The Franchise Magazine.

"We know that the Rohan brand is well loved - it has a strong presence in our target market and is widely-recalled in consumer research," Ian continues. "The problem is simple: our distribution just isn't wide enough to meet the demand. Expanding our reach quickly is central to Rohan's strategy over the next 12 months and it's already becoming quite clear that the franchise route has the capability to achieve that goal."

Rohan has identified up to 30 priority target areas in which it is seeking to establish franchise locations over the next three years and is looking for enthusiastic franchise owner candidates nationwide. "When we started working with franchise consultants FDS to develop our franchise proposition we knew, right from the start, that we had some real value to offer potential franchise owners," says Ian. "What we didn't really know - the thing that we'd underestimated - was just how strong a package we could offer.

"Having conducted a number of initial meetings with prospective franchise owners, what seems to be impressing people most is the support we can provide throughout the whole process - from setting up a franchise, to running it on a daily basis, to developing it into a long-term, highly profitable business." Rohan highlights five core components of its franchise offering. Its franchise package has been developed to offer:

  • A really low cost entry;
  • Support and guidance in finding a suitable location and getting that location open in the shortest possible time;
  • Industry-leading logistic support - Rohan owns a 25,000sq ft warehouse that consistently offers the highest levels of restocking support;
  • A launch programme to get the store off to a good start;
  • Ongoing support from Rohan's area management team when trading starts.

The opportunity is designed to achieve success through combining an extremely well established brand, enduring customer loyalty, high quality product range and, importantly, no requirement to invest in stock. "As I reflect on the early success of our franchise launch, I guess the most important thing has been that potential franchise owners have been able to see just how much Rohan can do for them," Ian adds. "The things that help new franchise owners are exactly the same things we've been doing for our own Rohan stores for over 30 years. We open them in the right places, we recruit the right sort of teams, we fill them with the right stock, we promote them heavily and we help manage them effectively. Maybe potential franchise owners have seen our ability to deliver these more clearly than we can see it ourselves!

"In the space of just one month, the Rohan franchise programme has developed into something that's going to play a central, crucial role in our growth plans. Not only is it going to enable us to take huge steps forward in achieving our own business goals, it's going to help many enthusiastic partners develop their own profitable businesses...and that's a pretty exciting proposition."

Reported Stuart Anderson

Franchise Package includes:

  • Site selection, including criteria, liaison on options and lease negotiation assistance.
  • Two week training programme, covers all aspects of operational method through classroom training and in-store familiarisation.
  • Launch programme tailored to the retail outlet, comprising local press advertising, voucher mailing to Rohan database, open day with hospitality and hands-on help and advice from the Area Manager.
  • £500 allowance toward personal corporate dress.
  • Licence to use Rohan's bespoke IT system.
  • Premises project management, including internal designs, shop refurbishment, initial stock display, staff interviews and appointments.
  • Loan of the Rohan Operations Manual, covers the highly valuable know-how and expertise relating to the complete Rohan business method, documented in a comprehensive and attractive manual.
  • Licensing right to trade under the Rohan corporate identity and enjoy full back-up and support.

Initial Investment Requirement

Total Franchise Package Content: £19,750 Total investment including the franchise package ranges between £35,000 and £50,000. This incorporates additional expenditure covering external signage, internal shop and working capital as per personalised business plan.

No Stock Risk

Rohan has developed an intriguing merchandising system which has enabled the company to create a retail franchise opportunity that does away with the requirement of a sizeable initial investment in stock. Rohan holds its stock items in its warehouse in Milton Keynes and retains nominal ownership of all items, even when they are in the franchise owner's store racks.
Each time an item is sold, the till automatically communicates the details to Rohan's bespoke software system which arranges for a replacement item to be picked and sent out within 48 hours. Stock deliveries are made to every store every day (except Sunday) and most items are replaced the following morning. With no capital tied up in stock, the franchise owner can rely on Rohan's wealth of merchandising experience to ensure that the right balance of stock items and sizes are on display. All sales revenue is initially collected by Rohan's bank, which at the end of every month pays the franchise owner a sizeable profit margin on all their sales.