Top 5 Retail Franchises in the UK

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best retail franchises

You’re spoilt for choice when you decide to join a retail franchise. The market has a huge number of different businesses from across a range of different sub-sectors – so which one do you go for? We’ve created a rundown of some of the best options.

Why start a retail franchise business in the UK?

Before we dive into the retail franchise opportunities, let’s take a quick look at why you might want to join the sector. Here are just three reasons to consider the business move.

  • The retail industry is on the up – UK retail sales totalled £394 billion in 2019. In fact, a third of our spending goes towards retail businesses. The sector is made up of 2.9 million employees working across around 300,000 stores. Retail businesses can be incredibly lucrative, so if you get the formula right, you could build a very successful business.
  • You’ll get expert help – Retail is one of the most competitive industries out there, so you’ll want all the help you can get when it comes to starting your own business. When you join a retail franchise, you can rely on a business with years of experience. It’ll offer you help with marketing, as well as the use of a proven business model. Most importantly, however, you’ll benefit from the business’s existing brand recognition.
  • You can be a part of your community – If you set up a ‘brick and mortar’ business on your local high street or in another visible location, you’ll welcome locals through your doors every day. This is a great way of getting to know your neighbours. Many franchises operate online or work with other businesses, but most retail companies are B2C operations, so you’ll be able to meet new people all the time.

Top retail franchises in the UK

1. CeX

In times of economic uncertainty, many shoppers turn to second-hand stores. This makes businesses like CeX almost recession-proof.

CeX sells affordable second-hand technology, DVDs, CDs and other media. Launched in London in 1992, it now boasts a huge customer base in the UK and across the globe. The brand operates more than 600 stores in total, many of which are run by franchise partners. It relies heavily on the franchise model in the UK, as 267 of the 385 UK stores are run by franchisees.

  • Becoming a CeX franchisee: The brand asks that its franchisees have previous retail management experience to be accepted onto the programme. See the CeX franchise page to learn more.
  • How much you need to invest: To join the franchisee pool, you’ll need to have funds of between £150,000 and £250,000.
  • What you get for your investment: CeX franchisees have access to a world-renowned brand and an established customer base. If things don’t go to plan and you find yourself regretting your investment, you can turn to CeX’s ‘buy-back guarantee’, which gives you a safety net when you first set up your store. By following the brand’s established business model, however, you are likely to reap the rewards of investing into a world-renowned brand.

2. Cash Converters

Cash Converters is also a safe bet if you want to make sure you survive periods of economic turmoil. This second-hand goods specialist was first formed in 1984, when Brian Cumins opened the first Cash Converters store in Perth. Subsequently, more stores were opened in the country, before the brand was brought to the UK in 1992.

Today, there are more than 700 Cash Converters stores spread across 20 countries in four continents. 200 of the brand’s stores are in the UK, making it a recognisable brand among Brits.

  • Becoming a Cash Converters franchisee: With its established brand identity and strong franchise network, Cash Converters is one of the most attractive investments on the franchise market. As long as you are enthusiastic, hard-working and dedicated to the brand’s success, you’re encouraged to get on board.
  • How much you need to invest: A minimum initial investment of £39,000 is necessary to launch a franchise store, but a total investment of around £155,000 will be needed to secure its future.
  • What you get for your investment: You will take part in a comprehensive training programme and be supported throughout the whole set-up process.

3. Gautier

While retailers selling affordable products are always popular, you also stand a good chance of franchise success by joining a high-end store chain. Quality is very important to many shoppers, particularly with products like furniture, and lots of people are willing to splash out on items they’ll use every day. So, why not become a Gautier franchisee?

Gautier is a stylish French furniture retailer that is recognised in 65 countries via over 100 stores. The brand is a leader in the indoor furniture sector and it was the first to cater for children, with junior-sized furniture being realised as a category across the globe.

  • Becoming a Gautier franchisee: This franchise has ambitious expansion plans and opens an average of 10 new outlets worldwide each year. Learn more about the business’s development on the Gautier franchise profile page. 
  • How much you need to invest: If you’re keen to be part of this contemporary furniture brand’s UK expansion journey, a minimum investment of £250,000 is required.
  • What you get for your investment: On top of its operational training programme, Gautier offers a range of extra support services. These include guidance creating an annual marketing plan and using the right software tools. You’ll even get help arranging your grand opening and regular check-ups to make sure you’re performing as well as you can be.

4. Schmidt

At times when homeowners are choosing to stay put instead of moving up the housing ladder, it’s worth investing in a franchise like Schmidt. Home improvement businesses benefit from slumps in the housing market, as many people opt to upgrade their existing home rather than move somewhere else.

Founded in 1959, Schmidt has been designing, manufacturing and selling innovative, made-to-measure kitchen and bathroom furniture for six decades. Its kitchen designs are constructed in the franchise’s six factories across Europe and displayed in its 450 showrooms that span 25 countries worldwide.

  • Becoming a Schmidt franchisee: When you join Schmidt, you’ll become part of a business with an annual turnover of more than £425 million. Individual franchisees can expect to make up to £2 million per year by following the franchise model closely. You won’t have to deal with stock, as orders are shipped directly to customers from the factory, and you’ll benefit from the company’s significant brand recognition.
  • How much you need to invest: To join the group of 30 Schmidt Kitchens franchisees currently operating in the UK and benefit from one of the 70+ available territories, you’ll need to make a minimum investment of £80,000 and total investment of £450,000.
  • What you get for your investment: All Schmidt franchisees get the chance to be enrolled onto a 14-week induction programme involving both theoretical and practical training as they set up their franchise unit. The kitchen franchise also offers support with writing a business plan, finding a suitable location, fitting the showroom and training branch employees.

5. The Incredible Ice Cream Company

If you’re looking for a retailer business in the food sector, look no further. The Incredible Ice Cream Company sets up mobile ice cream bars in high footfall areas and caters for private, public and corporate events across the UK. This allows it to attract lots of consumers without forking out for expensive high street premises.

  • Becoming an Incredible Ice Cream Company franchisee: You’ll benefit from the ice cream sector’s high demand and the 83 percent of people who eat ice cream during autumn and winter as well as spring and summer.
  • How much you need to invest: When you join The Incredible Ice Cream Company, you can choose to start a mobile business for £9,500 or a static business for slightly more. Franchisees can make over £50,000 in the first year alone, so it's a fantastic opportunity to get involved in the ice cream sector.
  • What you get for your investment: Franchisees will enter into a renewable, two-year contract and can expect to benefit from a comprehensive training scheme and all the consumables you need, from ice cream and sprinkles to sauces and flakes.

Find even more fantastic opportunity

We’ve listed just five of our franchise opportunities. We have a whole host of lucrative investment options in the retail and stores sector. Take a look to find your next venture.

>> Read more articles on the Retail sector

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