Q&A: Does Tesco Franchise in the UK?

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Tesco franchise

For many of us, Tesco is our go-to supermarket. One of the leading grocery retailers in the UK, this is a supermarket that has earned public trust and, impressively, is the third largest retailer in the world in terms of gross revenues.

From food and flowers to its own fashion label, household goods and gardening gear, Tesco stocks almost any essential you can think of. It has certainly come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1919. So, let’s take a look at the Tesco brand to find out a little more about its business model and Tesco franchise opportunities.

History of Tesco

This year marks Tesco’s 100th anniversary, and it is celebrating by paying tribute to its founder with new deals across stores in his name. Tesco reminds us that this hugely successful supermarket grew from just one man and one shop. Jack Cohen, the brand’s founder, started off with a group of market stalls in Hackney.

There are now more than 6,800 stores across the world. Cohen’s ethos was all about affordability for everyone, and this message still lives on today. Tesco’s business has always concentrated on the customer to create a one-stop shop for almost everything you could need at good value for money.

Tesco’s core business is retail, which provides 60 percent of its sales and profits. Its two main supermarket labels are its ‘Everyday Value’ and ‘Finest’ ranges – each creating £1 billion in sales per year. The Tesco business model is all about reinvesting in customers and products.

Does Tesco Franchise?

Unfortunately, the short answer is no, Tesco itself does not franchise. However, opportunities are available with Tesco’s offshoot company, One Stop.

How to get involved with One Stop

One Stop is part of the Tesco family, and condenses all that the name embodies into one convenient grocery store franchise. The brand first opened in the UK in 2014. Now, 930 One Stop shops can be found across England, Wales and Scotland. 160 of them are managed by franchisees.

With an initial investment of £50,000, franchisees benefit from the reliability and security of a respected and well-known brand. A One Stop franchisee instantly gains access not just to the brand’s supermarket retail expertise, but also to support seven days a week and grocery industry insight.

Because One Stop operates separately from Tesco, franchise owners get a level of autonomy, operating with different suppliers and distribution networks. Franchisees also enjoy the freedom to customise and tailor their stores to the local community.

If you’re looking for grocery franchise opportunities, running a convenient supermarket franchise under the Tesco umbrella could be a good place to start. Some One Stop franchisees prove to be such successful business owners that they go on to open multiple One Stops over time.

The groceries market in the UK

Our shopping habits in the UK have undergone notable shifts in recent years. But supermarkets, even after a period of difficulty, are still seen as essential. We are, in fact, now seeing a growth in the groceries industry as they adapt to changing consumer habits.

Names like ‘Tesco’ are almost synonymous with the word ‘supermarket’. It has a universal presence across our towns and cities, along with the other three ‘big’ names, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons.

However, according to Statista, consumer behaviour has shifted in favour of cheaper alternatives such as Aldi and Lidl. It is thought this move could be down to post-Brexit uncertainty and growing inflation.

Shoppers are now geared towards ease and convenience. There has also been a rise in people ordering their shopping online through services like Ocado, and ordering veg/dairy/meat boxes straight to their doors. Additionally, people are choosing not to travel further for larger supermarkets, and instead favour small, local shops that sell quality products.

Though change may not always be comfortable, it is also exciting, presenting new business and franchising opportunities. Smaller franchises of supermarkets and retail stores are an excellent sector to invest in to start your own business, especially if they are designed to cater for time-strapped, thrifty and health-conscious shoppers. Although these types of shops used to sell just the basics, they are now expanding to include a wider range of products to meet new demands and trends.

Similar franchise opportunities

If you are looking to open a supermarket and grocery store franchise, or retail store, there are many different brands to get involved with. Let’s have a look at some of the other options.


Spar is the largest food retail chain in the world. It operates in 42 countries and serves over 13 million customers every day. Originally a Dutch company, the head offices are still in the Netherlands.

In terms of franchising, Spar operates a multi-format strategy. This includes Spar, Spar Express, EuroSpar and InterSpar. There are currently 12,176 of these Spar franchises in the world, with the majority in Europe, which has 10,631 stores.

Spar retailers and franchisees can benefit from the online SPAR Guild Training Academy. This provides new additions to the brand with across-the-board training, enabling workers to attain operational excellence and accredited qualifications in the realm of retail. As a well-known and established brand, Spar has a lot to offer a franchisee.

In order to get the process started, new Spar franchisees should complete a comprehensive online application form, detailing their financial status, location and any specific requirements, which will determine the initial costs of the franchise.

Apollo Blinds

Apollo Blinds is the UK’s biggest blind franchise with more than 50 outlets nationwide. For over 40 years, the company has been creating a distinguished offering that sets itself apart from its competitors by providing premium, made-to-measure blinds, awnings and shutters for customers all over the UK.

Since 1972, the British Franchise Association-accredited brand has been inspiring customers with a trusted service and by providing the perfect finishing touches to homes. Apollo Blinds is a proud part of the Hunter

Douglas Group, which, with an annual turnover of £2 billion, is the world’s largest blinds company. The company has a firmly established heritage, market-leading innovative products and consistently happy customers.

Apollo Blinds praises the franchise model for its success and is dedicated to providing an extensive support network for its franchisees. This includes help with marketing, technical support, knowledge sharing etc.

To meet the demands of the expanding industry, Apollo Blinds is looking for passionate and enthusiastic franchisees. It requires a minimum of £20,000 for the initial investment.

Card Group

This franchise takes advantage of the huge market for greeting cards, which is worth over £2 billion in the UK.

Card Group was founded in 1997 under its “We are different” strapline and sells cards, gift packaging and party decorations and accessories. These products are sold in a range of stores, including supermarkets, convenience stores, bookstores and toy stores.

Franchisees who opt to join Sweden’s largest exported franchise can benefit from the company’s 21 years of franchising experience. In fact, Card Group has already appointed several master franchisees to run stores in 45 countries worldwide.

One of the major plus points of this franchise is that its products are sold to franchisees under the condition that they only pay for what they sell.

However, investors should be passionate about building on the brand and have ample managerial and sales experience. Good communication skills will also be important to the success of a master franchise.

To invest in the franchise, you’ll need to make a minimum investment of £40,000 and a total investment of £60,000.

Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe

Mr Simms traditional sweet shops offer a unique and evocative experience that caters for sweet lovers of all ages. Traditional values, sensational service, excellent product choice and heritage-inspired interiors are just some of the elements that blend together to give our brand its distinctive warmth and character.

With over 75 stores in the UK alone, Mr Simms is already the number one retail franchise confectionery business in the UK and its success story is just beginning.

The total investment is £37,000 to £59,500 depending on the size of the shop.


Although Tesco supermarkets as we recognise them do not officially franchise, investors do have the opportunity to get involved with the brand by franchising with One Stop. If that does not tick all the boxes, there are many other supermarket and retail franchising options. You will find plenty of brands that listen and respond to consumer trends, such as vegan supermarkets, and other exciting franchises stocking everyday products for the UK public. Get in touch if any of our retail franchises interest you and watch this space for more supermarket franchise opportunities in the future.

>> Read more articles on the Retail sector

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