Protests planned as 74 Post Offices to be handed to WH Smith

November 30, 2018

Protests are planned across the UK on Saturday after the Post Office announced plans to franchise dozens more stores to retailer WH Smith while closing numerous others.

Today the Post Office said it was proposing “to franchise a further 74 directly managed branches to WH Smith,” alongside as the business warns it is “not immune” from the troubles facing the high street.

In response to the proposals the Communication Workers Union (CWU) is set to hold protests at 50 locations across the UK, supported by Labour politicians and local campaigners.

It argued that wages offered at franchises like WH Smith are lower than at dedicated Post Offices.

“The day of action is an ambitious one. We are holding dozens of events from Truro to Aberdeen, in every region of the United Kingdom, to engage with members of the public about this latest shameful round of planned closures,” CWU general secretary Dave Ward said.

“People are sick and tired of the broken privatisation agenda that is behind this latest move. We hope many will join our campaign to save our Post Offices.”

Post Office’s network & sales director Roger Gale responded saying: “The Post Office has over 11,500 branches across the UK. It will be business as usual in all our branches and we hope the CWU will ensure that there is no impact on customer service.

Related: WH Smith ventures into Hong Kong with new franchise

“The Post Office is committed to keeping its vital services on high streets and at the heart of communities across the UK. However, we are not immune to the challenges facing retailers in local high streets, and we must adapt to changing customer needs by making our services more accessible to customers, for instance through longer opening hours.

“That is why we are proposing to franchise a further 74 directly managed branches to WH Smith.

“The plan enables us to maintain branches in town and city centres in a way that’s financially sustainable, not just for today’s customers but tomorrow’s too. 98% of the Post Office network is run in this way, on an agency or franchise basis. It’s a model that works through delivering the benefits of shared overheads and footfall.”

Source: Retail Gazette

America’s fast-growing franchise Orangetheory set to open new Altrincham studio

November 30, 2018

America’s fastest growing studio gym franchise is to open in Altrincham next month. Orangetheory Fitness is opening on the ground floor and basement of part of the unit next door to newly opened Sostrene Grene in the Stamford Quarter.

It will be open from 6am to 9pm on weekdays and 7am to 3pm at the weekends.

Orangetheory launched its first studio in Florida in 2010, and has since expanded to over 1,000 studios in 17 countriesAltrincham will be the first UK place outside of London to have an OTF studio, with the brand looking to open 40 new studios across the Midlands and Northern England by 2028.


Orangetheory is located in the Stamford Quarter in Altrincham town centre

Related: Altrincham launch for global fitness franchise

Orangetheory offers a one-hour, full body workout, focused on training Endurance, Strength and/or Power.

Backed by the science of Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (or EPOC), OTF’s heart-rate-monitored-training is designed to maintain a target zone that stimulates metabolism and increases energy, which results in burning more calories post-workout than traditional exercise.

It was described as “the best one-hour workout in the country” by the New York Times.

Related: Fitness Franchises – Should You Buy a UK Fitness Franchise?

Adam Bowerman, Studio Manager of OTF Altrincham, said: “Launching our debut studio in Altrincham is particularly exciting. With so many new businesses and an array of culture, cafes and restaurants in the area, there’s a wonderful community feel to the town, which is perfect for what we like to create for our members.

Orangetheory is holding VIP days this weekend with the official opening set to happen in early December.

Source: Altrincham Today

Property franchise giant reveals £3.6m deal

November 29, 2018

Lincolnshire-headquartered property franchise giant Belvoir Lettings has announced the acquisition of the Gloucester arm of Mortgage Advice Bureau for £3.6m.

The listed company has snapped up MAB (Gloucester) through its subsidiary Brook Financial Services.

MAB Glos, which trades as Mortgage Advice Bureau, is the largest appointed representative firm of the wholly owned subsidiary of AIM-listed, Derby-headquartered Mortgage Advice Bureau (Holdings).

MAB Glos provides mortgage and related financial services to clients through its network of 63 business partners.

Michelle Brook, managing director of Brook, will manage the whole financial services division overseen by Mark Newton, executive director of Belvoir Lettings.

Related: Property and Estate Agent Franchises UK – What Buying an Estate Agency Franchise Means for UK Franchisees

The financial services director, Tim Wood, and all four business development managers are to stay within the MAB Glos business.

For the year ended 31 December 2017, based on unaudited financial statements, MAB Glos generated revenue of £3m and pre-tax profits of £467,000.

Related: Belvoir boosts franchise support with three new hires

Belvoir chief executive Dorian Gonsalves said: “We are delighted to announce the acquisition of MAB Glos, whose network of 63 Business Partners will entirely complement our existing network of 300 property franchisees, both in terms of the management infrastructure and the cross-selling opportunities, creating a total of 364 offices, including Brook, operating under the Belvoir Group.

“We believe that the acquisition of MAB Glos will provide the basis for developing a network of financial advisers to support our franchisees at a local level, in addition to the existing mortgage advice services delivered centrally by Brook.

“This will give our existing property franchisees the ability to ‘build a business within a business’ by either utilising an existing MAB Glos mortgage adviser or taking on their own new adviser on-site.

“This will in turn achieve greater penetration of financial services to the group’s client base for the benefit of both individual franchisees and the group as a whole.”

Source: Insider Media

Pentagon Motor Group announces intention to acquire three TrustFord dealerships

November 29, 2018

Pentagon Motor Group has announced its intention to acquire three Ford dealerships from TrustFord – in Warrington, St Helens and Runcorn.

The sites, which were previously branded as Polar Ford, before being moved in to the Ford owned TrustFord retail group will be rebranded as Pentagon Ford and operated by the Derbyshire-based group which currently operates 38 franchise outlets from 23 sites across the East Midlands, North West, South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

Pentagon Motor Group, managing director, David Lewis, said: “We are very pleased to be adding Ford to the Pentagon group and working together with TrustFord this promises to be a smooth transition.

“We are keen to ensure that all current staff on the three sites transfer happily to Pentagon Ford and we will do all that we can to ensure this is the case. For customers it will be business as usual.”

Related: Car And Automotive Franchise UK – Should You Buy UK Car Franchises?

The three TrustFord locations will become these Pentagon Motor Group’s first Ford dealerships.

However, the group’s parent company, Motus Holdings (UK), already has Ford Transit Centres at Grimsby and Halesowen as part of its Imperial Commercials Division.

The formal completion of the acquisition of the three new Ford franchises is expected to take place on December 31.

TrustFord chairman and chief executive, Stuart Foulds, said: “As part of our ongoing review of our property portfolio we are in negotiation with the Pentagon Motor Group to sell them our Warrington, St Helens and Runcorn dealerships.

“All colleagues located in these businesses have been informed and will be transferring over to Pentagon so customers can continue to experience the same high levels of service for all their vehicle sales and servicing needs.’’

Rob Truscott, CEO of Motus in the UK, said: “As a Group, we are committed to growth. Not growth at any cost, but where we see a real opportunity at sensible investment levels, and the acquisition of these three important Ford sites delivers on this for us.”

Pentagon Motor Holdings was acquired by South Africa’s largest car retail group – the Motus Corporation – in August, 2017.

The vehicle division of Imperial Holdings SA acquired the Derbyshire-based group for a sum reported to be R493-million (£28.5m).

At its annual conference, held in Daventry last month, TrustFord’s leadership team outlined many of the group’s plans for the year ahead.

TrustFord is preparing to expand into Scotland as it takes a central role in Ford of Britain’s new Parts Plus wholesale parts network.

Foulds described the new wholesale parts proposition as a “huge opportunity” for the group, which will also be expanding the Ford brand’s QuickLane fast fit brand and developing mobile servicing across parts of the UK in a bid to boost the service offered to its own fleet customers.

Expanding on Foulds’ outline of the PartsPlus plan, PartsPlus operations director, Richard Allott, revealed that – while negotiations were still ongoing with the proposed operators of the 70+ Ford PartsPlus territories across the UK – TrustFord is expected to be in-line to run 19, with each business fully operational by the end of H1 2019.

TrustFord is also planning to participate in the UK-wide introduction of Ford’s QuickLane all brands fast fit network already firmly established in the US and will roll out mobile servicing across some areas of the UK in order to meet the needs of its own fleet customers.

Source: AM Online

International fitness chain F45 Training to open in Bristol

November 28, 2018

An Australian-owned fitness chain is opening a branch in Bristol. F45 Training, which has more than 1,200 venues across Asia, the Middle East, North America and Europe, is opening on All Saints’ Street near Bristol’s shopping quarter in January.

The idea is for people to take part in team-based fitness, with the workout franchise offering 27 different 45-minute workouts at its studios.

The company’s website states: “F45 Training workouts are designed to unify the muscle groups of the body and to make you look, move and perform better in all aspects of your life.

“The F45 training co-CEOs struck out to do the impossible: create a group-training facility that featured the most dynamic and effective training styles to date.”

Each franchise has televisions mounted on the wall of the studios, providing diagrams of each daily workout.

And F45 claims that its database of 3,000 exercises means members never get the same workout twice.

The chain is offering a free seven-day trial to people who sign up in Bristol.

Related: Fitness Franchises – Should You Buy a UK Fitness Franchise?

Chris O’Mahony, retail and leisure director at Savills in Bristol, which represented F45, said: “We are pleased to have secured the first sites for F45 in the region.

“Both locations are within strong cities and benefit from prominent city centre locations with strong catchments of both residents and the professional population.”

The company was founded in 2012 and now has 100,000 members worldwide.

The company is also opening a branch in Bath before the end of 2018.

Source: Bristol Post

New year, new horizons with a franchise

November 28, 2018

The British & International Franchise Exhibition promises to be the catalyst for change for aspiring business owners when it opens its doors at Olympia London on 1 and 2 February.

The turn of the year will, for many, mark the start of a new chapter as they pursue the goal of running their own business. Some may go it alone while others will choose the optimised route to success offered by a franchise.

A franchise delivers a proven business model and a finely tuned plan for launching and operating a thriving venture. Ongoing support from the brand’s head office and network of other franchisees further contributes to the appeal of franchising.

Whatever their career history and target investment level, entrepreneurs will find a franchise business to suit their ambitions at The British & International Franchise Exhibition.

British & International Franchise Exhibition

More than 100 opportunities spanning all sectors will be represented by global and national brands including Anytime Fitness, Delightful Desserts, Right at Home and The Alternative Board.

Visitors will benefit from the valuable reassurance that every exhibiting brand has been assessed and accredited by the UK’s sole regulatory body for the franchise industry: the British Franchise Association (bfa). This exclusive partnership with the bfa allows attendees to explore safe in the knowledge that any opportunity that catches their eye at the event operates a business format franchise.

In addition to the chance to discover various franchise opportunities, including low-cost, home and vehicle-based showcases, crucial and practical advice will be on tap from professional advisers.

Related: Franchising Market Research 101 – A Complete Market Research Guide for UK Franchisees

Entrepreneurs just starting out in franchising will benefit from a comprehensive programme of seminars and workshops advising on the financial and legal processes of choosing and setting up a franchise business. Ample opportunity is also offered to consult on a one-to-one basis with industry experts on these matters.

The Growing Your Own Business conference, exclusive to the exhibition, is vital to those who are ready to embark on or already running a franchise. It features workshops dedicated to educating on the latest tactics to grow sales and income as well as a hub that allows for networking and consultation with business growth specialists.

The Multi-unit Franchise Conference supports those wishing to expand beyond their existing franchise holdings. Presentations from experts and insightful panel discussions among already successful multi-unit franchisees combine with well-designed networking sessions to reveal the mechanics and rewards of running lucrative multi-unit franchise portfolios.

Helen McCulloch, portfolio sales manager at Venture Marketing Group, the organisers of The Franchise Exhibitions, comments:

“For anyone looking to make 2019 the year they become their own boss, The British & International Franchise Exhibition offers the perfect opportunity to explore how a franchise can make that goal a reality.

“Under one roof, visitors can explore bfa-accredited national and international brands, as well as acquire all the advice and contacts they need to pursue and grow a successful venture.”

Free tickets to the event taking place at Olympia London on 1 and 2 February are available online using promo code DIA1, saving £15 per person on the door.

For more information on all aspects of the event please visit

British & International Franchise Exhibition

CDG wins tender to open Warrens Bakery site at Bristol Airport

November 27, 2018

Casual Dining Group (CDG) has added another eating-out brand to its concessions and franchising portfolio, after winning a tender to open a Warrens Bakery franchise store at Bristol Airport.

The new site at Bristol Airport will take over from an existing Soho Coffee site, in the autumn. The 84-cover venue will be located landside in Bristol Airport, selling all day menu options ranging from handmade pasties, pastries and fresh sandwiches, alongside hot and cold drinks.

This latest agreement with Warrens Bakery will allow CDG to tap into the grab-and-go market, primarily targeting airports and major train stations for future growth.

Mark Nelson, managing director of concessions and franchising, CDG, said: “We are delighted to be working with Warrens Bakery; it’s a highly respected, quality brand with a strong heritage that allows us to enter the grab-and-go space. The look and feel of the site is rich and authentic, just like its food, and we’re confident it will be well received when we take it to the wider market.

Related: Casual Dining Group moves into grab-and-go market with franchise agreement

“While this first partnership opening is at an airport, I very much see the opportunity to target other major transport hubs across the UK with Warrens Bakery sites, bringing award-winning Cornish pasties, hand-made sandwiches, sweet treats, fresh coffee and excellent service to commuters and travel-weary passengers when they need it most.”

Mark Sullivan, chairman of Warrens Bakery, added: “We’re delighted to be working with CDG and opening a Warrens Bakery outlet at Bristol Airport. We’re a brand with an incredibly rich heritage and we want to find franchise partners that we know will uphold and deliver our values and brand standards. In CDG we have found the perfect partner, they are operational experts and together we can take Warrens Bakery to new profile destinations across the UK in a variety of formats ranging from café to kiosk.”

Source: Catering Today

Cake Box sales grow as retailer surpasses 100 stores

November 27, 2018

Cake Box has reported rapid growth in the first half as the cream cake retailer unveiled its first financial update since going public.

The company, which debuted on London’s junior market in June, said revenue was up 44% in the six months to September 30, driven by a record number of new store openings.

Pre-tax profits were down 7% at £1.37 million for the period, but this included the £599,000 cost of the IPO. Excluding listing costs, profits were 34% higher.

Chief executive Sukh Chamdal said: “The Cake Box brand has continued to go from strength to strength and we have made good progress since flotation with our strategic priorities of growing our store estate, investing further in our new products and developing our digital marketing.”

The group said it was on track to open about 15 more franchise stores in the remainder of the year, matching the number added during the first half. There are now more than 100 Cake Box locations in the UK.

Related: Cake Box cooks up plans for £43m London listing

Growth was also boosted by higher revenue per store, with like-for-like sales up 4.4%.

Analysts at Shore Capital Markets said the results were “good enough to eat” and predicted a strong second half, with Christmas and New Year still to come.

Shares in the company were 3.9% higher in early trading on Monday.

Source: Belfast Telegraph

US Fastsigns chief executive praises Bolton branch of company

November 26, 2018

THE Bolton branch of global signage specialist, FASTSIGNS, has relocated as part of its plans for continued expansion, and has been praised by one of the world’s leading businesswomen.

Home Is Where the Work Is: The Rise of Home Based Franchises

November 26, 2018

Home now is not just where the heart is – it’s also where the work is! 2018 has been a year of many stories within the franchise industry, but one that’s certainly stood out has been the continued surge in popularity of home based franchises.

The popularity of working from home generally is on the rise – in the UK where I am based, data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that the number of UK workers who have moved into remote-working has increased by nearly a quarter of a million over the past decade, and this number is expected to continue its upward spiral, with half the UK workforce expected to be working remotely by 2020. In the US, according to the US Census 2017, 5.2% of workers in the US worked at home in 2017—or 8 million people. That share is up from 5% in 2016, and 3.3% in 2000. Lower in percentage terms than in the UK, but still an increasing trend.

And who could blame us for this new desire to work from the comfort of our own homes? No commute, flexible working, the option to work in your pyjamas should you so wish – and of course with superfast broadband as standard these days and the improvements in tech generally, working from a home based environment has never been easier.

Add into that mix the growing popularity among the population of self employment in general and this seems to be exactly why more and more people are looking towards home based franchise opportunities as a possible business venture.

So what are home based franchises? Quite simply, it’s a franchise business that doesn’t require fixed premises such as a unit or retail outlet. And before people start to panic thinking that they’d go stir crazy sat looking at the same four walls each day, what that doesn’t mean is that the business is fixed at the home. Many home based franchises are mobile ones, things like lawn treatment services, children’s activities, coffee vans and consultancy services. So whilst the paperwork side of the business is generally run from a home office, often the service or product is delivered out and about in the field.

One of the biggest attractions of  home based franchises is that generally speaking they tend to be lower cost – both in terms of initial outlay and then ongoing overheads. This makes a home based franchise an attractive opportunity for a wide pool of potential franchisees who do not want to invest or risk a significant amount of capital – although that’s not to say that a home based opportunity carries any lower percentage of risk than another franchise venture. Home based operations also tend to be fairly easy and quick to set up in terms of training and just getting off the ground and will generally be either owner operated or involve just one or two other people.

One of the other growing reasons for the popularity of the home based franchise must be the rise in “parentpreneurs” – parents looking to run flexible businesses around family life and very often work around the commitments of caring for young children. It could be said that home based opportunities attract this type of potential franchisee not just because of the home based element, but also the lower financial investment and the appeal of the type of business – many home based opportunities are based around education, children’s activities and health and well being.

Related: Home Based Franchises UK – Taking Stock of Impressive Work from Home Opportunities

For the franchisor offering a home based opportunity, the advantage of a wide pool of potential franchisees makes launching into this industry a very attractive proposition indeed for the emerging franchisor – hence the increased number of players in the market. However conversely they can arguably also attract a proportion of potential franchisees with weaker backgrounds, less ambition and simply attracted by the low numbers and high degree of flexibility. This is why, as of course with any franchise recruitment process it’s extremely important that the franchisor is cautious when selecting franchisees. It’s important to ensure that a potential home based franchisee possesses the same drive and focus as a franchisee in any other sector, that they are motivated and self disciplined enough to be able to grow and develop a business which does not have a fixed base and that they are ready to deal with the inevitable feelings of isolation and loneliness that all home workers must experience at times, no matter what their background or set up.

In fact, it could be said that even more discipline and self motivation is needed to succeed with this type of franchise business than with a bricks and mortar one with a team of employees, and a franchisor in a home based enterprise will need to consider very carefully how they structure support and keep lines of communication constantly open to ensure that their franchisees remain on track, focused and feel very much part of the network, team and brand.

Source: Forbes