What is a retail franchise?

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Retail franchises

Franchising is big business. There are currently around 48,600 franchisee-owned businesses in the UK which is an increase of 10 percent since 2015. The BFA/NatWest Franchise Survey 2018 confirms that the majority of franchisee-owned units reported profitability, making it a tempting business move for many budding entrepreneurs. There are a range of business sectors available to buy into, including retail, cleaning, finance, food, pet, car, fitness and so many more.

Why start a franchise?

Taking the franchise route to business ownership isnt just an opportunity for individuals looking to make their mark in the world of entrepreneurship. For many existing business owners, franchising is a great way to rapidly expand their business at a lower cost. Starting a franchise has countless benefits in comparison to taking the independent start-up route. But perhaps the most significant is the fact that you can be your own boss, whilst still having the backing of an established brand. For a more in depth look at whether you are more suited to starting an independent start-up or a franchise, see another one of our articles here.

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What is a retail franchise?

A retail franchise is any franchise that sells goods to the public, often in shops or on the internet. These goods are sold to be used or consumed, rather than resold. For instance, retail franchises on our books include Card Group, Tubz Vending and Apollo Blinds. As you can see its a vast, diverse sector including everything from selling cards to blinds.

The diversity of retail franchise opportunities

All you have to do is stroll down the high street or browse the internet and you will see an abundance of thriving retail businesses. There are plenty of retail franchises you wouldnt have thought of either. Take pet food franchise OSCAR, off licence franchise Bargain Booze and sign franchise Signs Express.

3 advantages of starting a retail franchise

  1. Theres a likelihood that passers-by will come and have a look inside, particularly if you have an enticing window display. In city or town centres, the majority of businesses you will see are retail. In comparison to businesses that arent in the retail or food sectors, you will benefit from potential customers visiting your business who might not have originally planned to. This means that simply from being in a location with frequent passers-by, there is the chance that someone will come in and spend money.You could make promotional material clearly visible on the high street to increase the possibility of this happening. This way, even if someone wasnt planning on doing any shopping today, if your clothes franchise advertises a sale, they might be tempted to go in and check out the deals.
  2. There is scope to establish a trusted, loyal relationship with your customers. You can easily achieve this by complimenting or offering additional information to your customers. There is room to create a personal, unforgettable customer experience with retail franchises. If a customer remembers this experience, not only are they more likely to return, but they are likely encourage their friends to visit too.
  3. Its rewarding seeing customers happy with their purchases. Your products and your customer service have the power to truly make a difference to your customers day. After all, the term retail therapy didnt come from nowhere.


Franchising for growth

One of the reasons why existing businesses should consider buying a franchise is the scalability that is possible with a franchise brand. This is particularly true for retail businesses who compete in a crowded marketplace and could benefit by converting their business into a well-known brand. Most companies choose to expand their business either horizontally or vertically. When an existing business buys a franchise, theyre able to expand collaboratively. Franchising is leading the way with this trend.

So, whats the difference between these expansion methods?

Horizontal growth: This is the most conventional way to expand a business by simply doing more of what youre already doing. This can be achieved by adding more retail outlets to the operation to increase sales.

Vertical growth: This method of expansion means that you expand by incorporating functions into your business that are directly related to your existing business, but you dont currently offer. For example, a retailer may decide to start manufacturing products as well as selling them so that they can gain more control over the whims of the marketplace.

Collaborative growth: An emerging expansion trend has been born from the popularity of franchising. This growth strategy involves making the most of infrastructure factors you have already created, whilst joining forces with another, often bigger, brand to increase sales.

The infrastructure factors that you're making the most of are likely to be your customer base, staff and location. These elements, along with the support, brand recognition and proven business model that the franchise will bring to the party, lead to a win-win situation for all involved. Incorporating retail franchise opportunities into your business offers you the chance to make an additional profit with less of the risk. The franchisor also gets a proven successful franchisee with a robust existing business to support the new retail store franchise as its getting off the ground.

Is this the right model for you?

Do you have an existing retail business that could benefit from becoming a retail store franchise? If the answer is yes, then here are some retail franchise opportunities that you should consider:


SPAR is possibly one of the most recognisable brands in our villages, towns and cities. Operating in the UK for 60 years, this global brand is here to stay. With 12,500 stores in more than 40 countries serving 13 million customers every day, youll be joining forces with a retail giant.

Even if you have years of experience running your retail business, youll benefit from access to the award-winning SPAR Guild Training Academy. Completing the training course and achieving the qualification alone has resulted in existing SPAR franchisees seeing an increase in sales of up to 12 percent. This, along with the ongoing support from a business development manager and the backing of an extensive marketing package, means that youre on the road to success with a SPAR franchise.

For more information about this opportunity, head to SPARs website today.


With 1,500 Londis stores across the UK, this established brand serves local communities with all their shopping needs. Offering quality and convenience at a low cost, youre certain to increase your customer base with this well-loved local shop.

As a Londis franchisee, youll have the support to upgrade your existing retail outlet to meet the criteria of the brand. Youll receive:

  • Eye-catching store fascia and branding package
  • Access to an experienced store development team to help with store planning
  • Support from the store merchandising team, with national as well as local coverage
  • Assistance from a dedicated forecourt development team

As well as your business receiving a makeover, youll also benefit from regular visits from your regional development manager who will help you grow sales, reduce costs and increase profitability. Youll also be able to take advantage of an extensive marketing programme and promotional activity.

To find out more about becoming a Londis retailer, we recommend having a browse of its website.

WH Smith Local

If you have an existing retail outlet near a bus or train station, or close to an airport, then buying a WH Smith Local retail store franchise may be for you. With the objective of becoming the top retailer in convenience, books and news for the worlds travelling customers, WH Smith Local is seeking ambitious and hardworking franchisees to join the business.

Already a well-established brand, WH Smith has over 1,100 outlets and over 225 years experience as the nations favourite stationer, bookseller and newsagent. The WH Smith Local brand will provide existing newsagents and post offices with fully branded fascias and window vinyls. This enables them to profit from the highly respected reputation and brand which helps the store stand out from the competition.

Once on board, franchisees will receive comprehensive induction training and a business development manager will be assigned to assist with all aspects of store management, sales and profit planning.

Whats in it for you?

You can accomplish considerable marketing improvements by being part of a brand that has nationwide presence, as well as gain access to a marketing strategy thats used to drive brand recognition and customer growth. Its likely that youll also achieve substantial purchasing power savings from being part of a large brand that has better bargaining power. Finally, youll benefit from a tried and tested business model giving you the best possible chance of success.

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