New chicken shop opening on Black Country high street

November 21, 2018

Wednesbury is about to get a new chicken shop as Dubai-owned, Chicking, has announced plans to expand into the Black Country, bringing with it new job opportunities.

The new international fast-food chain branch is set to open at 48a Union Street, which used to be home to the Acorns Children’s Hospice for the passed 25 years.

After launching in London, Chicking has rent the 771 sq ft unit on a seven-year lease and in anticipation of opening its third largest branch in the UK.

The deal to bring the takeaway to Wednesbury was helped along by Midlands-based commercial property agents, Bone Wolfe.

James Mattin, managing partner at Bond Wolfe, said: “It’s always a pleasure to help growing companies with their property needs, and we were delighted to help find the right place for ChicKing’s new franchise.

“The unit is located on the main pedestrian high street in the heart of Wednesbury town centre, which should result in plenty of footfall from potential customers.

“We’re especially pleased that this development will create several jobs in the area and we look forward to helping ChicKing expand elsewhere in the region in the future.”

Source: Birmingham Mail

5 famous franchises shutting down all over the world

November 20, 2018

From fast food to fast fashion, franchises have always been a cash cow. Whether it’s Bulgari or Burger King, brands have helped defined the way we live our lives. However, it’s not an easy time some of the biggest brands around the world.

Before you dream up your business idea to make you the next king (or queen) of the franchise game, consider why some of these popular brands are shutting down stores.

Famous Brands in South Africa

Wimpy lovers might be shaking in their boots following the news of Famous Brands closing some of its outlets around the world. Earlier this year, BusinessLIVE reported that the conglomerate – parent to SA brands such as Debonairs, Steers and Tashas – was closing dozens of outlets in Britain and elsewhere in Africa and in the Middle East.

KFC in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean news website Pindula recently reported that some KFC stores would shut in that country due to economic pressures. A notice issued by one of the outlets explained that because it could no longer buy chickens from the US, it was unable to run its business.

Capcom in Canada    

Gaming giant Capcom expects to report a loss of more than $40m after it closed one of its offices in Vancouver. According to US gaming news website Polygon, the move comes after the Vancouver team created only one mobile game, Puzzle Fighter, but the app did not perform well and was shut down only months after its release. One of Capcom’s biggest franchises is Dead Rising, for which a sequel is in the works.

McDonald’s in Vietnam

It has a mass following worldwide with more than 36,000 stores in 100-plus nations, but the one place McDonald’s just can’t seem to penetrate is Vietnam. In a CNBC news report, consumers said they remained loyal to street vendors’ affordable sandwiches. According to CNBC, McDonald’s had planned to launch 100 stores in that country within a decade after 2014. However, it has opened only 17 so far.

Toys R Us in the UK and the US

The closure of toy shop Reggies broke hearts in SA, but more tears may flow as Toys R Us may be no more too. The franchise filed for bankruptcy last year, facing debt of $6.6m, and is expected to sell or shut down all of its stores in the US. In the UK, the closure of 100 stories will leave 3,000 workers without jobs. Stores in France, Australia, Spain and Poland are set to go into liquidation.

Source: Sowetan Live

WH Smith ventures into Hong Kong with new franchise

November 20, 2018

UK bookchain WH Smith is to open stores in Hong Kong after securing a franchise agreement with King Power Group (Hong Kong). The WH Smith Hong Kong outlets will open in travel retail locations such as railway stations – there is no mention in the announcement of the airport.

“We are currently present in six countries in the region: Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, India and China, with excellent business partners and we are delighted to welcome King Power Group as a new franchise partner,” WH Smith chairman Louis de Bourgoing said.

“We very much look forward to working together to grow our presence across Asia and bring the WH Smith offer to travelling customers in Hong Kong.”

King Power Group operates more than 1000 stores in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, North America and India. King Power Group travel retail MD Sunil Tuli described WH Smith as “an esteemed and leading news, books and convenience brand and operator globally.”

“We have seen their international travel retail businesses grow over the past years and we trust that our collaboration will see good successes in Hong Kong.”

WH Smith’s travel retail stores combine its core books and stationery offer, with convenience foods and travel accessories.

Source: Retail News

Bushey Heath Garage opens MG Motor UK dealership

November 19, 2018

Bushey Heath Garage confident of “a bright future” after becoming the latest addition to the MG Motor UK franchise with the opening of a new showroom in Hertfordshire.

The approved Hyundai used cars and aftersales provider has now officially opened its new MG showroom on High Road in Bushey, Hertfordshire.

A statement issued by the Longbridge-based brand today (November 19), said that the business had become an official MG dealership following an “inspiring trip” to MG’s extensive facility at Longbridge.

“During the visit, the Bushey Heath team learned about MG’s exciting future plans and vibrant product roadmap, prompting the company to join the franchise”, it said.

Jonathan O’Donoghue, dealer principal of Bushey Heath Garage, said: “We are extremely pleased to be working with MG, a truly iconic British brand.

“After seeing the company’s growth plans and witnessing first-hand the quality of the vehicles they’re producing, we’re confident that MG will bring a bright future for Bushey Heath Garage.”

Daniel Gregorious, head of sales and marketing at MG, added: “We pride ourselves on working with dealers that have excellent reputations in their local areas.

“Bushey Heath’s experienced team will help to spread the MG message in Hertfordshire and we’re delighted to welcome them to our growing network”.

The launch of two all-new SUV models in the past three years helped MG registrations to finish 2017 almost 6% higher than the year before, in a market that was down 5.6% overall.

For the 10 months to the end of October 2018, the brand was 112.75% ahead of the same period in 2017.

That leap has been aided by the launch of the B-segment ZS SUV crossover late last year, a car that is expected to help double MG’s sales this year – the target is 8,882, rising to 10,000 in 2019, with 15,000 the aim for 2020.

MG said that it is continuing to grow and strengthen its UK dealer network, adding that key open points including south London, Bristol, Leeds and Liverpool, remain open to potential investors.

Read Craig Thomas’s interview with Daniel Gregorious, head of sales and marketing at MG, in the latest edition of AM magazine for a thorough overview of the brand’s UK operations.

Source: AM online

UAE’s Relam inks franchise deal for new restaurants

November 19, 2018

UAE-based conglomerate Relam Investment has acquired the exclusive rights to the brand of Casual Dining Group, the owner of Las Iguanas, Bella Italia, and Oriel Grande Brasserie in the UAE.

The franchise deal paves the way for Relam Investment to open 11 restaurants in the UAE over the next four years, a statement said.

Casual Dining Group, the operator of nearly 300 mid-market restaurant brands, has agreed a new franchising deal for its Las Iguanas, Bella Italia and Oriel Grande Brasserie brands in the UAE.

Several locations in Dubai are being considered for the debut site, while Abu Dhabi will also be targeted for further openings, the statement added.

After recently committing to invest £300 million into technology and real estate in India, this will be Relam’s first food and drink investment.

The deal sees the first ever franchise for Oriel Grande Brasserie, CDG’s premium all-day restaurant concept, that currently operates three sites, all of which are at airports.

Sultan Ali Rashed Lootah, chairman and managing director of Relam Investment, said: “The food scene across the UAE, particularly in Dubai, is vibrant and exciting at this moment in time and we are very much looking forward to working together on this new partnership.”

Steve Richards, CEO, Casual Dining Group, added: “This latest agreement clearly demonstrates, once more, our ambition to gain a foothold in foreign markets, taking key learnings from the UK and applying them in other countries.”

Casual Dining Group said it already has agreements in Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Ireland while it is exploring further franchising opportunities in Asia, Europe and North Africa.

Source: Arabian Business

Anytime Fitness’ parent company acquires Basecamp Fitness – plans to roll out franchise globally

November 18, 2018

Self Esteem Brands, owner of Anytime Fitness, has acquired a new fitness concept with plans to franchise it worldwide.

Basecamp Fitness – developed by entrepreneur Nick Swinmurn – currently has five locations in California and is based on providing high-energy workouts.

Designed to increase members’ strength while improving their cardio performance, Basecamp offers 35-minute, high-intensity training sessions which alternates 60-second bursts of various strength-training exercises with 60-seconds on a stationary “airbike”.

“Our plan is to build additional, corporate-owned Basecamp Fitness studios next year to explore consumer preferences and perfect the brand experience,” said Chuck Runyon, co-founder and CEO of Self Esteem Brands and Anytime Fitness.

“We hope to begin franchising Basecamp Fitness in the US and internationally in 2020.”

Dave Mortensen, co-founder and president of Self Esteem Brands and Anytime Fitness, added that the two business will complement each other.

“We believe that Basecamp Fitness and Anytime Fitness will appeal to two very different types of consumers,” Mortensen said.

“Anytime’ Fitness gyms feature convenient, 24-hour access, a welcoming, supportive environment and a growing variety of coaching programmes to personally help members achieve their individual fitness goals.”

Source: Leisure Opportunities

Fast Growth Performing Arts Franchise In Newcastle Lands Gig At St James’ Park

November 18, 2018

Youngsters from a fast-growing performing arts school in Fenham are tuning up for a special festive appearance at St James’ Park in Newcastle this weekend.

St James’ Park Festive Fayre takes place at the home of Newcastle United Football Club on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th November (10am – 5pm) and pupils from Little Voices, the award-winning performing arts school franchise based in Fenham, will sing Christmas songs to raise money for Newcastle West End Foodbank.

Newcastle West End Foodbank first opened back in 2013, providing invaluable support to those living in poverty within the region, and has since grown to be the largest Foodbank in the UK. The Foodbank provided food parcels for in excess of 40,000 people in Newcastle last year.

Jenni Evans, principal at Little Voices Newcastle, said:

“The children are very excited to be performing at such a great event and hope to raise as much money as they can. We are proud to have been invited to perform and it gives our pupils a good audience to showcase their talents to, as well as helping the community this Christmas.”

The weekend also hosts an array of local traders and a variety of traditional Christmas food and drink.

Tickets for the St James’ Park Festive Fayre are £3 per person when purchased in advance or £5 on the door.

Little Voices in Newcastle provides singing and drama lessons in small groups for boys and girls aged 4-18. Pupils gain official qualifications though LAMDA (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art).

The business was established by professional opera singer Jane Maudsley in 2007.

Little Voices now has a franchise network of 72 centres operated by 25 individual franchisees who often have a background in professional teaching, acting or singing.

The business is targeting 60 franchisees before the end of 2020 and is also planning international expansion into the USA market.

Source: Business UpNorth

Fund manager points to opportunities in UK equities

November 18, 2018

Billions of pounds have been taken out of UK equities since the Brexit referendum of June 2016 but there are still opportunities that should not be overlooked, a conference has heard.

Speaking at the Investival conference hosted by AJ Bell yesterday (November 15), Mark Barnett, head of UK equities at Invesco, said global investors had taken the view that “politics are too hot”, which overshadowed the fact the economy has not done as badly as many might have expected.

Mr Barnett said: “I have a myriad of other (investment) opportunities I’d rather be looking at elsewhere in the world, and therefore I would underweight UK equities.

“Within that category of UK equities, however, there is a subset of companies particularly exposed to the UK economy and those are the cheapest of all – I think that’s really where the opportunities are.”

Instead of UK assets, he suggests fund managers like himself have been seeking assets that offer uncorrelated returns to the economic cycle and political uncertainty.

He said: “They may be involved in things like catastrophe insurance or litigation or litigation finance or alternative lending etc.

“They’re business that may have a cycle but they sit outside of the general economic cycle, I think they offer quite big attractions for funds like ours.”

The comments came after figures released by the Investment Association in October showed investors have withdrawn £10bn from UK equity funds since the Brexit vote in June 2016.

UK equity income funds open to advisers were battered further this week by uncertainty around the current Brexit deal.

However, in reality the economy was doing “just a bit better” than was expected directly after the referendum, Mr Barnett said.

He said: “The overlay in the UK has absolutely been political – there has been evidence of the economy in aggregates since the referendum, and while it has performed a little bit worse since the referendum, it hasn’t been significantly bad.

“Actually, at the moment things are improving – the government is putting money back into the economy, it is talking about the end of austerity, and while this is mostly tinkering with the numbers effectively there is more government money coming back in, and the government stands ready to do more if they need to.”

Also speaking on the panel, James Harries, a fund manager at Troy Asset Management Limited, told delegates that “while we have been in a rising rate environment, we are not in a rising rate environment anymore”.

Nick Gartside, managing director at JP Morgan Asset Management, however disagreed.

Mr Gartside said: “Let’s be honest, central bank policy rates are just ludicrously low, they’ve set at a level that is suitable for an emergency.

“Are economies in an emergencies? No. They’re actually growing at a pretty healthy rate.

“If you look at the UK, the average Bank of England base rate since 1700 is 3.5 per cent – so can rates double from where they are now? Absolutely. And they will.”

He said the trickier economy to predict was actually Europe, which was “in a trap due to negative interest rates – a disastrous economic policy”.

Mr Gartside said: “It embeds a deflation mindset and of course they target inflation, and when you look at inflation in the eurozone, it’s at rock bottom levels.

“Probably the best you can hope for there is to go from -14 to 0.”

Mr Barnett also noted that a higher rate environment posed the risk that, because policy settings have been very low, decisions have been made by consumers and companies on that basis, and these may now have to be adjusted for a higher rate environment.

He added: “We [also] don’t know how the US consumer is reacting already to an environment of higher rates.

“My sense is that having already had a number of rate rises as we just heard, the risk of a policy mistake is higher now than ever in the last 10 years.

“In part, because rates haven’t moved for 10 years so there’s been no change. But I do feel that – listening to what governments are saying – they are absolutely intent to keep moving rates up.”

Also speaking during the session, Ainslie McLennan, fund manager of UK property at Janus Henderson, pointed out that the market has historically operated quite well in a normal interest rate environment of between 3 to 4 per cent.

She said: “The yield on portfolios like ours is about 5 per cent. So we feel quite comfortable about it. The important element for us is that it is slow and steady, as opposed to drama.

“Commercial property often gets hit by the idea of drama more than what happens in real terms, and so we’re kind of sensitive to that. But if its slow and steady, it would be fine.”

Source: FT Adviser

Tim Hortons’ first franchise site to open in Scotland

November 18, 2018

Tim Hortons has secured its first franchise partner, who will open a site in Scotland by the end of the year.

The Canadian chain, which made its UK debut last year, is partnering with Graeme and Lisa Tobias, who are to open a drive-through restaurant in Stenhousemuir.

“We have initial plans to open a cluster of sites in the next 12 months and work with the Tim Hortons UK team for many years to come,” said Graeme Tobias.

Tim Hortons stated that many businesses had been interested in becoming franchisees, and that it would continue to seek further partners.

“Graeme and Lisa are experienced, successful operators and we believe they will deliver the Tim Hortons brand in Stenhousemuir and in other locations in the future to excellent effect,” added Kevin Hydes, Tim Hortons UK chief finance & commercial officer.

Tim Hortons opened its first UK site in June 2017, and has since launched further sites in around Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast and Manchester. It offers a menu including its signature coffee and Timbits bite-sized doughnuts.

The Tim Hortons brand was founded by its namesake, a top ice hockey player, in Canada in 1964 and now has around 4,700 sites in Canada, the US, and around the world.

Source: Bakery Info

McLaren Automotive focused on new ‘retail destinations’ in Leeds and Hatfield

November 16, 2018

McLaren Automotive’s managing director for Europe, David Gilbert, has said that the brand’s retail focus is on its new franchises in Leeds and Hatfield – but new open points would be considered.

Gilbert, who was speaking to AM ahead of tomorrow’s (November 14) opening of the British supercar maker’s new manufacturing facility in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, described the new facilities operated by Parks Motor Group and Cambria as “impressive”.

But he would not rule out further growth of its UK retail network as the brand pushes production volumes from the McLaren Technology Centre at Woking to a capacity approaching 5,000 cars a year.

“The new facilities are true destination developments and introduce new customer standards that we are excited to embrace,” said Gilbert.

“Our focus for 2019 in retail in the UK is very much on supporting the growth of those new businesses, but other retailers do come to us regularly and enquire about the possibility of opening a franchise and we continue to do our research to determine whether they might present viable open points for the brand.”

McLaren Automotive’s eight UK franchises are operated by Cambria, Jardine, Parks, Rybrook and Sytner.

Gilbert said that McLaren Automotive’s research into the viability of a new market area extends to its economic output and the presence of other luxury brands – including fashion outlets – in the vicinity.

McLaren Automotive expects its retailers to help it towards a 650 vehicle sales in the UK during 2018, but Gilbert conceded that the capacity of the MTC in Woking could be restricted in the near future by the production of high-value hypercars like the forthcoming £1.75m Speedtail, which demand longer production times.

The opening of Parks’ McLaren Automotive Centre in Leeds during May marked a move into Yorkshire for the brand and will be followed by the official opening of the McLaren Composites Technology Centre in the county tomorrow.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will attend the opening of the facility, at the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham, which will construct the carbonfibre tubs, which lie at the heart of all McLaren Automotive vehicles, from 2020.

Gilbert said that it was important for customers of the brand to see the vehicles been manufacturer primarily in the UK and said that there were practical considerations to the creation of the £50m facility.

“Having control of our supply chain is extremely important,” he said. “In terms of being able to control our own production and more quickly support the aftersales requirements of our customers, it is a real advantage.”

Source: AM Online