City Spotlight: A Quick Guide to Franchising in Reading

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Reading is home to the burial site for King Henry I of England, the school where Jane Austen studied and the jail where Oscar Wilde was kept prisoner. It’s also a thriving business zone, and we believe it could make the perfect location for aspiring franchisees. Keep reading to find more reasons why you should consider franchising in Reading.


Situated in Berkshire, Reading occupies a convenient location just outside of London. It is a convenient base for commuters who travel into the capital, as well as a profitable commercial area in its own right. In fact, it’s previously won countless awards; it’s been named the UK’s top region for economic success and Europe’s 10th most attractive location for foreign direct investment. 

An overview of Reading 

There are over 800,000 people living in the Reading postcode area, with an average age of 39.7. This means the population is slightly younger than other regions in England and Wales, where people are 40.3 years old on average. Reading’s share of working-age people is also higher than elsewhere, with 62.6 percent of people aged between 16 and 64, compared to 62.3 in England and Wales generally.

Living near to the capital, Reading’s workers tend to earn more than employees across the rest of the UK. The region’s average salaries range from £40,600 in Basingstoke and Deane, to £50,500 in Wokingham. Meanwhile, typical earnings in the UK sit at £38,600. 

In line with Reading’s high salaries, properties also tend to be more expensive in the area. Buyers part with around £369,000 on average, compared to £314,000 across England and Wales. 

Reading has earned its place as one of the UK’s most productive regions. It has the fifth highest number of qualified workers in the UK, as over 42 percent of people are educated to NVQ4 level or higher. Plus, 20 percent of its university graduates stay in the area after studying. 

Reading also has the highest employment rate and the sixth most productive workforce in the UK. On average, each employee generates £83,800 (GVA). Plus, the town has been the fastest-growing economy of any area in the Thames Valley for the past two decades. 

One of the biggest advantages of franchising in Reading is the town’s proximity to London. You can get there in just 25 minutes on the train, and access Heathrow Airport with a 45-minute car journey. Reading is on the M4 motorway, which stretches all the way from London to Pontarddulais in Wales. 

The town has also recently upgraded its train station with an £800 million investment, making travel more convenient. 



Running your own business in Reading

Unsurprisingly, Reading is an attractive location for many businesses. It benefits from access to London’s infrastructure and workforce, as well as fantastic transport connections to other neighbouring areas. Many high-profile companies have chosen to set up in the town, across industries including financial and legal services, IT, bio-pharma, retail, logistics and green technologies. 

Here are some of the region’s most productive sectors, which you should focus on if you’re planning on franchising in Reading: 

  • Digital - Four in 10 of the businesses in central Reading are knowledge-intensive companies. The town is the top UK region for employment in the technology sector, and home to more than 20 percent of the most successful private digital businesses in South England. You’ll find offices for high-profile firms including Microsoft, Huawei and Cisco in the area. 

  • Business, financial and legal services - Reading has evolved into a national hub for businesses in this sector. It’s long been a base for the British multinational insurance firm Prudential, but also houses offices for PwC, Barclays, HSBC and Visa. 


  • Retail - This sector generates an annual turnover of more than £780 million in Reading, making it the retail hub of the Thames Valley. You’ll find two main shopping centres in the town centre: Broad Street Mall and The Oracle, which attracts 15 million customers a year. Reading also has an impressively low commercial property vacancy rate, at 11.24 percent - 28 percent below the UK average. 

  • Transport and logistics - Conveniently located just outside of London, Reading has strong transport links with rail, road and air capabilities, which makes it an ideal logistics hub. Supermarket giant Tesco and property investment firm Segro have recently opened major distribution centres in the area. 

  • Energy and renewables - The Thames Valley is making a name for itself as an innovative region when it comes to green energy. In Reading, the sector is led by organisations including Reading University’s Walker Institute for Climate Systems Research and the European Centre for Media Range Weather Forecasts. Firms like AMEC Foster Wheeler and SSE have also moved to the town. 

  • Bio-pharma and bio-tech - More and more business owners are establishing science and research organisations in Reading, particularly in the Green Park business district. This bio-pharma cluster has strong connections to similar research hubs in Oxford and across the Thames Valley. 

  • Defence and cybernetics - Reading has a particular strength in these sectors. Its university carries out world-renowned research into cybernetics, while the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) and Rockwell Collins form part of the region’s defence cluster. 

Franchising in Reading 

So, there you have it - our franchise guide to Reading. 

Choosing to launch a business in the town could be a sensible decision. Many successful entrepreneurs opt to work in Reading as a way to access everything London has to offer without paying its premium price tag. 

Once you’re established in the area, you’ll be able to benefit from the region’s thriving commercial scene and many business networking opportunities. There are various groups up and running, as well as regular events in the calendar. The Reading Business Expo, for instance, provides the chance to mingle with like-minded entrepreneurs and get the low-down on the region’s latest investment opportunities. 

Take a look at the current franchise opportunities on offer in Reading to see the businesses you could join. 

*Statistics taken from PlumPlot.co.uk and LivingReading.co.uk

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