Top 5 Convenience Store Franchises in the UK

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Convenience store franchises UK 2018

Whether you need some more milk, an extra egg or your favourite magazine, convenience stores offer the products we all need and use on a daily basis – plus a few more! If you want to become an integral part of your local community and start your own convenience store franchise, read on to see our top opportunities.


As the notion of the ‘big weekly shop’ goes out of the window, convenience stores are becoming increasingly important to the legion of ‘top-up shoppers’ that visit smaller, local stores on a weekly or even daily basis. This change in shopping habits is having an impact on the retail industry. The convenience market is set to rise in value by 17.6 percent between 2018 and 2023, to be worth £47.2 billion. This is fast outpacing the supermarket sector, which is set to grow by just 7.7 percent.

According to Michael Freedman, Senior Shopper Insight Manager at IGD:

“The ‘little and often’ top-up shopping trend is becoming more popular. Some 92 percent of all shoppers conducted a top-up shop last month, up from 83 percent in 2014. These types of shoppers are vital for the success of convenience stores, as it is the go-to channel for top-up shopping. Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of all shoppers have used a convenience store for a top-up shop in the past month, while 44 percent used a supermarket.”

So, what better time to start your own convenience store franchise?

Reasons why starting a convenience store franchise is a great idea

1. Provides economic stability

Most convenience store franchises have a stable income level, so you should have economic stability when the local or national economy is struggling.

2. You will have a natural customer segment

After you’ve established your business in the area, you will become the go-to destination for locals. Whether it’s party supplies or a late-night snack, residents will rely on you. Due to the natural location-based customer segment, you don’t have to spend quite so much on marketing.


Top 5 convenience store franchise opportunities

If you think that you have what it takes to open a retail franchise, you may want to consider one of our top five convenience shop picks. If you're hardworking, dedicated and self-motivated, these opportunities could give you the tools to become a successful and profitable franchisee.

1. SPAR

With a history that goes all the way back to 1932, SPAR is a convenience store ‘run by locals, for locals’. Entrepreneurs who choose to open their own SPAR branch will draw customers in as a result of the brand’s positive reputation.

You’ll join a huge network of SPAR retailers, totalling over 12,000 stores in over 34 countries. This makes it the largest food store chain on the planet. In the UK alone, 50,000 attentive staff members serve the public daily, helping to generate a revenue of over £3 billion.

  • Becoming a SPAR franchisee: You can find out more and apply here.

  • What you get for your investment: Franchisees who join the brand can benefit from SPAR’s store development service and online Guild Training Academy. By utilising these valuable tools, franchisees can gain key retail management qualifications, which will enable them to progress further in the retail sector.

2. Londis

With their instantly recognisable branding, Londis stores have become a fundamental part of our high streets. Since 1959, Londis has built on its brand model to establish more than 1,900 separate branches. The store boasts a range of over 5,000 product lines, offering customers huge variety.

  • Becoming a Londis franchisee: Starting a franchise with Londis couldn’t be easier. You don’t need experience in the retail sector or the ability to pay expensive franchise fees – but you should be committed to Londis and upholding its reputation. If you’re willing to agree to a five-year Fascia and Supply agreement, support national promotions and stock products from each of the four store ranges, you’re the business partner Londis is looking for. Click here to get the ball rolling.
     
  • What you get for your investment: To remain competitive, Londis has developed simplified promotional and marketing support programmes to encourage custom and improve customer loyalty. As a franchisee, you’ll be provided with free marketing support through personalised leaflets and promotional and seasonal point of sale kits. When you’re on board, you’ll get access to free online training and support, as well as free membership to the Association of Convenience Stores.

The Waitrose Food and Drink Report 2017 again highlights our increasing preference to shop little and often.

A grocer said:

“Just a few years ago, an average Waitrose would open with around 200 big trolleys and 150 shallow ‘daily shopper’ trolleys lined up outside. These days the tables have turned, with 250 shallow ‘daily shoppers’ and just 70 big trolleys needed.”

3. Budgens

Founded by John Budgen in 1872, Budgens is one of the oldest supermarkets in the country. Today, there are 150 Budgens stores across the UK. These are staffed by a workforce of over 6,000 people, who serve 80 million customers a year.

  • Becoming a Budgens franchisee: Having a background in the retail industry is looked on fondly. To learn more and sign up, click here.

  • How much you need to invest: Budgens has a number of measures in place to ease the franchising journey. The most notable way in which this retailer distinguishes itself from the average one is by eliminating regular franchise fees. Instead, franchisees must agree to purchase a minimum of £10,000 of branded stock per week from Budgens’ distributions depot. A minimum investment of £20,000 is required.
     
  • What you get for your investment: When a new franchisee joins the Budgens network, they are allocated a New Store Opening Manager who can advise on everything from stock to staff recruitment. There is much more support available, however. All Budgens units can use the brand’s national, seasonal deals to entice new customers and reward loyal ones, and investors gain access to free marketing support through social media, leaflet schemes and a free online ‘Retailer Toolkit’. With all this support available, there is no reason why a franchisee shouldn’t see success with Budgens.

4. One Stop

You have probably heard of One Stop, but did you know that it is a subsidiary of Tesco? That means that if you become a franchisee, you will have the backing of not only One Stop, but the supermarket giant, Tesco, too. 160 out of the 770 One Stop stores currently in operation across England, Wales and Scotland are owned by franchisees, and the company is on the lookout for more.

  • Becoming a One Stop franchisee: One Stop does things slightly differently to a lot of retail franchises. Rather than giving entrepreneurs the tools to start their own One Stop store, it is searching for business owners that already manage a shop and are prepared to transform it into a One Stop. Click here to sign up.
     
  • How much you need to invest: You’ll need to invest up to £50,000 and pay a £92 weekly membership fee, but One Stop will take care of ensuring that your shop reflects the brand by refreshing the decor where necessary. In terms of stock, 95 percent of your offering must be One Stop products, but you can buy the remaining five percent of products from local suppliers.
     
  • What you get for your investment: You’ll have access to a 13-week training programme and be provided with a Business Development Manager.


5. Costcutter

Costcutter was established in the UK in 1986 as a small, family-owned business. In 2011, it was bought by another family-run business, Bibby Line Group, and today there are roughly 2,000 Costcutter shops spread across the UK, Ireland and Poland. Of course, this doesn’t take into account the additional stores stocking Costcutter products. If you own a convenience store and would like to enter into a business partnership with Costcutter, you will need to be prepared to invest in the brand.

  • Becoming a Costcutter franchisee: Like One Stop, Costcutter offers a slightly different take on the conventional franchise model. Instead of supporting franchisees as they open new, branded stores, it supplies independent store owners with Costcutter products so that they can sell them while continuing to run the business as they see fit. Click here to apply.
     
  • How much you need to invest: There are no exact figures regarding the level of investment required from franchisees, but information online suggests that it could cost between £70,000 and £200,000 to partner with Costcutter and benefit from its extensive range of products.
     
  • What you get for your investment: Costcutter offers guidance with procurement, marketing, retail and technology.

Start a convenience store franchise

We’ve discussed our top five convenience store franchises; simply click on their client profiles to find out more and apply. If you’ve enjoyed this article, check out other articles from this series:

>> Read more articles on the Convenience Store sector

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