Q&A: Does Asda Franchise in the UK?

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If you’re interested in launching your own supermarket business, you might be wondering whether there are any Asda franchise opportunities. In this article, we take a closer look at the retail giant and its investment options.


Asda has been categorised as one of the ‘big four’ UK supermarket chains, along with Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. Its big, green logo can be seen all over the UK, on the front of Asda supercentres, superstores, supermarkets and petrol stations. Within its outlets, customers can browse homeware collections in Asda Living, fashion in George and food products, from Smart Price bargains to Extra Special treats.

Asda is dedicated to making sure its products are always reasonably priced. In fact, in 2019, it won the The Grocer’s Price Award for the 22nd year in a row. The magazine calculated Asda’s basket to be priced at £60.47 on average, which is five percent cheaper than that of its nearest competitor.

Since Asda was first established, it has launched a number of famous adverts. Its most notable one is probably the “Asda price” campaign, which involved customers tapping their pocket twice to hit all the coins that Asda’s low prices had left them. Believe it or not, this promotion was first introduced in the late 1970s and, since then, many celebrities have been involved with the signature tap. Over the years, Paula Wilcox, Julie Walters and Michael Owen have all appeared in the adverts.



History of Asda

Asda’s story starts with the Asquith family in the 1920s. They lived in Knottingley, West Yorkshire and ran a butcher’s shop. Some time and a lot of hard work later, they had turned this enterprise into seven separate shops. W. R. Asquith’s two sons, Peter and Fred, had an active role in the family business and later co-founded Asda.

In 1958, the brothers opened their first store and, to gain insight into the industry, flew to the US to visit the world’s first supermarket, Piggly Wiggly. In the next five years, they made innovative business decisions to entice customers to their stores. For instance, they converted a theatre called The Queens into the UK’s first self-serve supermarket and pioneered the idea of food promotional deals with cans of soup. They even introduced later opening hours on a Friday night, which was an industry first.

In 1965, Peter began building a supermarket with a car park, after realising the increasing popularity of the car would impact how people shop. Before long, ‘Queens’ grew into a self-serve supermarket chain. At this point, Peter decided he wanted another company to take over its butchery operations. This was when he formed a partnership with Noel Stockdale from Associated Dairies, and the Asda brand as we know it was born.

In 1999, Asda was acquired by the world’s biggest retailer, Walmart, for £6.7 billion. Since April 2019, it has been the second biggest supermarket chain in Britain, behind Tesco. In 2015, it celebrated its 50th birthday and opened its 600th store, helping it exceed £1 billion in profits for the first time.

Does Asda franchise?

Sadly, there are no Asda franchise opportunities at the moment. But, back in 2011, the supermarket business did confirm its first global franchise partners for its clothing brand, George. Azadea Group, which is headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon, manages the George franchise stores in the Middle East.

How to get involved with Asda

While it’s not possible to open an Asda franchise store, there are plenty of roles you can take on when you join the retail business. It is advertising vacancies in its head office and warehouses, as well as openings for logistics and technology specialists, delivery drivers, pharmacists and opticians.

Visit Asda’s careers site to browse all available positions.

In my seven years at Asda, I’ve had the opportunity to work across a number of roles. In supply, I’ve worked in health and beauty, imports and promotions and the events team. I’m now a Merchandising Analyst in the bakery team, the variety has been great for my development! Plus, I have the work life-balance I want, which is really important to me as a father. – Rob Allan, Merchandising Analyst

The supermarket sector in the UK

As you’ll be aware, the supermarket sector has undergone several shifts in the last few years. Consumers are increasingly shunning the ‘big weekly shop’ for more frequent trips to smaller convenience stores to pick up a few essentials. In fact, more than one in five Brits does grocery shopping every day.

As a result, many supermarket brands have had to make changes to their business model in order to maintain their customer base. Lots of them have started offering food delivery services, bringing groceries and homeware to customers in their own homes. Others are putting more emphasis on their smaller convenience stores, such as Tesco Express and Sainsbury’s Local shops.

So, if you’re thinking about investing in a supermarket franchise, be sure to join one with a forward-thinking attitude to growth. In other words, take a special interest in stores with an online division and smaller store models to give shoppers the chance to pick up daily essentials.



Similar franchise opportunities

Asda is one of the biggest supermarkets in the UK, so it’ll be difficult to find its equivalent in the franchising world. None of the other ‘big four’ offer investment opportunities, but there are a few businesses you may be interested if you’re willing to open a smaller convenience store. Let’s look at a couple of possibilities.

7-Eleven

This American convenience store started offering its franchise model in 1964, after purchasing a number of Speedee Mart franchises across California. 7-Eleven was ranked #1 on Entrepreneur magazine’s 2017 Top 500 rankings list, and was named one of Fast Company magazine’s ‘Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Retail’ in the world. The company has also been ranked as one of the Military Times’ Best for Vets franchises.

  • Becoming a 7-Eleven franchisee: 7-Eleven currently operates in more than 17 countries and welcomes applications from interested franchisees on its website. Although it doesn’t currently offer opportunities in the UK, you can set up your own 7-Eleven in another country if you’re interested in international territories. To find out more, click here.
     
  • How much you need to invest: 7-Eleven hasn’t revealed how much it would cost to set up a new store, as the total could fall anywhere between $100,000 and $1 million, depending on location.
     
  • What you get for your investment: The franchise model is unique in that it shares profits from across the group with its franchisees, as well as the royalties they make on sales, offering all franchisees multiple revenue streams within their business.

One Stop

This subsidiary of Tesco operates more than 770 company-owned stores and 160 franchisee-owned stores across England, Wales and Scotland.

  • Becoming a One Stop franchisee: Franchisees are not constrained to a specified list of supplies; as long as they purchase 95 percent of their stock from One Stop, they have the freedom to select their own local suppliers to make up the remaining five percent. Click here to learn more.
     
  • How much you need to invest: One Stop is looking for established retailers who would like to convert their store into a One Stop franchise and are willing to pay up to £50,000 to make that happen.
     
  • What you get for your investment: The chain will provide a store re-fit, refreshing the interior and exterior of the shop to reflect the One Stop brand in accordance with the existing store’s size, dimensions and features. Fill out the company’s online form to find out whether you fit the criteria and qualify for a free consultation.

Starting a supermarket franchise

Asda franchise businesses don’t exist, but there are other options if you see yourself as the owner of a convenience store. You can find out more about the franchise opportunities on offer in our ‘Top 5 Convenience Store Franchises’ article.

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