Top 3 Pre-Owned Goods Franchises in the UK

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Owning a retail franchise

Consumer behaviour is shifting, as more and more people recognise the need to shop ethically and sustainably. Pre-owned goods franchises can cater to the new generation of eco-conscious - and money-conscious - buyers, so let’s take a look at the best ones offering investment opportunities in the UK. 


Second-hand goods businesses belong to a growing market. In the UK, almost 4,000 shops, with around 36,000 employees, sell pre-loved items (Statista). The industry is made up of both independent retailers and franchised brands, and should expand significantly in the coming years. 

The popularity of used goods is demonstrated by the increasing number of companies choosing to work towards a ‘circular economy’. IKEA, for example, recently launched its global ‘buy back service’, as well as a store dedicated to selling used furniture (World Resources Institute).

Why join a pre-owned goods franchise?

Here are just a few of the reasons why joining a pre-owned goods franchise could be a great choice: 

  • There’s high demand for used goods - At least seven in 10 shoppers have bought second-hand books in the past, and there’s also a thriving market for donated DVDs and CDs (Marketing Week). In London, people spend an average of £13 per month in charity shops, demonstrating just how much people love pre-owned items (Statista).

  • There are now opportunities to sell used goods online - Young people in particular have prompted a rise in demand for online second-hand goods businesses. You only need to look at the success of the fashion marketplace app Depop to see the potential for the industry.

  • You can carve out a rewarding career - Starting a pre-owned goods franchise business is likely to be not only profitable, but sustainable too. It’s fulfilling to know you’re helping to reduce waste and protect the environment, as well as saving your customers a few pounds.  

It seems [the Covid-19] lockdowns ultimately sped up the transition to a greater sustainability-conscious society. With people’s wallets becoming tighter, an uneasiness about going out shopping, and after some time away from the materialism of day-to-day normality, the nation was more in tune than ever with charities, small businesses and caring for the planet.
—Emma Grant, Head of Preloved at eBay 

Pre-owned goods franchise opportunities

1. Cash Converters 

Cash Converters was established by Brian Cumins in Perth, Australia back in 1984. Over the years, he launched more stores across the country, before bringing the brand to the UK in 1992. 

Today, there are more than 700 Cash Converters stores spread across 20 countries in four continents. Around 200 of them are based in the UK, so the brand is a recognisable one 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. The franchisor is looking for enthusiastic, hard-working and dedicated investors to launch additional units. 

  • How much you need to invest: A total investment of £100,000 is required to set up a Cash Converters branch. After two years in business, you can expect to be generating a revenue of over £200,000. 

  • What you get for your investment: Cash Converters provides a full turnkey franchise opportunity, so you’ll get initial stock and working capital, as well as help with your store set-up. You’ll also benefit from the brand’s custom-designed computer system, as well as a comprehensive training and support scheme. 


2. Cash Generator

With more than 700 units across 21 countries, Cash Generator is the largest network of second-hand goods businesses in the world. Like Cash Converter, it has 200 locations in the UK, selling a wide range of items, from technology, homeware and musical instruments. The franchise has been up and running since Brian Lewis launched the concept in 1994. 

  • Becoming a Cash Generator franchisee: Franchisees can benefit from Cash Generator’s multiple income stream opportunities, as it offers money transfers, currency exchange and other financial services, as well as second-hand products. 

  • How much you need to invest: You'll need to put at least £80,000 towards your business, but you can expect to spend a total of up to £240,000 in the long run.

  • What you get for your investment: The franchise team delivers a six-week training scheme with both classroom-based and in-store tuition. You can expect to learn about all the key aspects of running a Cash Generator business, from management and operations to customer service, lending practices and money transfer processes. 


3. CEX

CeX buys and sells high-quality second-hand consumer electronics and entertainment technology, from games consoles to DVDs and CDs. 

The business was launched in London in 1992 and now has a huge customer base around the globe. It’s developed a network of more than 600 stores, and 267 of the UK’s 385 locations are run by franchisees.

  • Becoming a CeX franchisee: To succeed with CeX, you’ll need to have previous retail management experience and a passion for helping consumers find high-quality second-hand products. 

  • How much you need to invest: If you want to join the franchisee network and set up your own CeX store, you’ll need to have funds of between £150,000 and £250,000. After two years in business, you should be seeing returns of up to £1 million annually. 

  • What you get for your investment: CeX franchisees get initial training at a local branch and guidance on a range of different topics, from stock and pricing to the franchise’s intranet system and store design. But if things don’t go to plan, you can turn to CeX’s ‘buy-back guarantee’, which gives you a safety net when you first join. 

Find success in the retail franchise industry 

With money tight and sustainability a top priority for consumers, pre-owned goods franchises are set for a successful future. Browse our current selection of high-quality investment opportunities in the retail sector to find your perfect franchise, or boost your knowledge with our other business guides

>> Read more articles on the Retail sector

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