Co-op opens first service station convenience store in Cornwall

March 26, 2021

The Co-op has launched its first franchised store at a service station, with the opening of Co-op Cornwall Services. The new outlet is the 15th franchised store for the convenience retailer.

Its existing franchise estate includes independent retailers, university campuses, Nisa partners, Costcutter company-owned stores and its first partnership with a catering business, Gather & Gather. The Co-op sees the new service station store highlighting the brands breadth, diversity and agility of its franchise proposition.

The company says the new 2,000 sq. ft. Co-op store (located off the Victoria Interchange junction off the A30) will open between 7am-10pm seven days a week, support 20 local jobs and run on 100 per cent renewable electricity.

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Designed to service business travellers, commuters and tourists who pass through the area, the store offers customers an extensive food-to-go range with hot and cold sandwiches, snacks and chilled drinks. An in-store bakery will also offer pastries and Co-op’s Ever Ground Fairtrade coffee.

Martin Rogers, head of new channels at the Co-op, said: “We’re always looking for ways to reach new customers and members, and our Cornwall Services store is a great example of how our franchise model can flex to work in a number of different locations to meet differing customer missions.

“The Cornwall Services’ Co-op is a fantastic looking store in a cutting-edge service station in the heart of the county and will add a real point of difference for commuters, giving them access to award-winning and quality food on the go.

“Our franchise offering has gone from strength to strength as we focus on generating mutual value with forward thinking like-minded partners and our expertise and learnings in this area are helping us access new markets all over the country.”

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Mark Upton, the store owner, said: “We’re really excited to launch the first ever Co-op in a service station site at Cornwall Services. The store has a fantastic modern look, a substantial range and competitive prices that provides a convenient solution for tourists and for local people to stop off and top-up on their commute.”

The Co-op also reports that it has recently upgraded its membership at the BFA and is now an associate member of the association, which it sees as reinforcing its brand as a credible franchise partner.

Through its full-service franchise model, the Co-op says it offers a unique proposition for independent retailers who share its values and principles to become part of the Co-op community, giving more customers access to stores, in great locations by providing award winning food and drink, conveniently.

Source: Franchise World

A new Co-op store to open at Cornwall Services on A30 near Bodmin

March 17, 2021

The Cornwall Services on the A30 is expanding with a new onsite Co-op franchise store.

The new store, near Bodmin, Cornwall due to open on March 18 is expected to create 20 jobs.

It is part of a £500,000 investment by Co-op in Cornwall.

Including an in-store bakery, the new Co-op will offer a wide selection of fresh produce, store cupboard essentials and ready meals including all the leading brands in addition to a selection of local regional items.

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Erica Smedley, the store manager said: “Whether it’s popping in for essential groceries, a sandwich on the move or picking up a ready meal on the way home from work, everyone will benefit from great value prices, seven days a week opening and free and easy parking.”

The chain said it will be donating dinner kits, tote bags of essential groceries, to two local charities Fair Exchange Bodmin which is a community support group set up during the pandemic and St Petrocs, the charity working to end street homelessness in Cornwall and which already has a contactless collection point at Cornwall Services.

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Iain Inchley from St Petrocs, said: “Maintaining a healthy diet for people experiencing homelessness can be difficult, but it has been even harder over the last year so food donations such as these are vital in helping people stay healthy and move forwards with their lives.”

Mark Upton, franchisee and part of the commercial team at Cornwall Services, said: “We believe the new Co-op will be a hugely popular addition for both locals and tourists alike – and being the first service station in the country to have a Co-op store on site is very exciting.”

By Olivier Vergnault

Source: In Your Area

Ableworld Northwich generously supplies 23 cushions to local care home

February 1, 2021

Part of the Ableworld national mobility retail chain, the Ableworld Northwich team has been able to help a local care home by supplying 23 much-needed cushions for residents.

Brothers Andrew and Chris Matzen have set about raising money for Elmhurst Intermediate Care Centre, based in Winsford, Cheshire, in honour of their dad Ronald Matzen. Ronald was a resident at Elmhurst Care Centre when he passed away and to show their support to the care home, Andrew, Chris and Grandson Lewis wanted to thank the home for taking such great care of him.

When Andrew contacted Elmhurst to see what supplies they needed, he was made aware that the care home needed an additional 50 cushions to have enough for all residents.

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Andrew then got in contact with the Ableworld Northwich store to see if there was anything the team could do to support his mission. The Ableworld Northwich team was able to offer a discount on the required cushions to help support the cause.

With the money raised from their dad’s funeral, Andrew and Chris were able to purchase a total of 23 cushions from Ableworld for the care home. Nurses Amy, Debbie and Emma were extremely thankful for this kind donation and said it will really help their residents.

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Ann, Store Manager at Ableworld Northwich, said: “We are really pleased we could help Andrew in his mission to support a local care home, it is a lovely thing to do. We are proud be able to play a small part in helping our local community through this difficult time, and wish Andrew every success.”

The Ableworld Northwich team delivered the cushions to Elmhurst recently, while socially distancing, and managed to meet Andrew and his family, along with staff from the care home.

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In December, Ableworld ranked among the top 50 franchised businesses in Elite Franchise magazine’s prestigious list. Ableworld ranked 46th out of the top 100 UK franchises for 2021.

In particular, Elite Franchise highlighted the company’s proven franchise model, attractive market conditions and the opportunity to build a profitable long-term business.

By Sarah Sarsby

Source: Thiis

Ableworld named one of UK’s top franchised businesses

December 23, 2020

Mobility retailer Ableworld has been named in the top 50 franchised UK businesses for 2021 by Elite Franchise magazine.

Elite Franchise Top 100 celebrates the industry’s brightest franchises, taking into account some key criteria as well as how they have coped through a difficult 2020.

Ableworld has remained open throughout the pandemic to support people living with reduced mobility, providing essential equipment.

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As well as placing in the Elite Franchise top 50, Ableworld was also ranked third best bricks-and-mortar retailer in the UK.

Managing director, Mike Williams, said: “We are honoured to be recognised in the Top 50 franchises in the UK, especially considering the difficult year everyone has had.

“Retail has suffered with the pandemic as the government insisted retailers close their doors in the fight against coronavirus.

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“Being a retailer providing essential equipment to vulnerable people, all of our stores remined open through the pandemic to help support our local communities.

“We are proud of all of our team members, business owners, and support staff for continuing to provide the best possible service to our customers through this difficult time.

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“Many of our customers live with incontinence, struggle to manage the stairs or sleeping in a chair if they do not have the strength to get up, so we knew we needed to continue to support people as much as we could.

“Being recognised as one of the best retail franchise businesses in the UK and the third best bricks-and-mortar retailer is a huge achievement for Ableworld, as we know that helping people live more independently means so much to so many people.

“We want to take the opportunity to send our best wishes to everyone for a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.”


Source: Access & Mobility Professional

Snap-on Tools Claims Bronze Franchisor of the Year Award at Franchising Awards

December 18, 2020

Snap-on Tools, a professional tool brand, has won the Bronze Franchisor of the Year award at the 2020 bfa HSBC Franchise Awards, held virtually on 30 November.

They are the leading global manufacturer and distributor of tools for the automotive, marine, railroad and engineering technician. Franchisees sell the most sought-after tools in the industry and deliver outstanding customer service to technicians from their very own, iconic showroom on wheels.

Lisa Law, national franchise manager commented on the win:

“We celebrated our 100th year in business this year, so winning this award is an indication of our standing in the automotive and franchising industries.

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“It’s very humbling to have been chosen as a winner from hundreds of other respected franchise brands across the country. Our success is down to the hard work of our 400 franchisees, so I want to thank them for their continued dedication.”

The awards are the flagship event in the franchising calendar, with nominees and winners, proving the business works ethically and in the best interests of franchisees and staff. This year the awards were postponed and held virtually, as the safety of everyone involved was of very high importance.

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Pip Wilkins, CEO of the British Franchise Association, said:

“There are more franchise systems than ever before, showing that businesses are choosing franchising as an ideal model for them. Snap-on Tools has over 160 support staff and focuses on enabling the franchisee network to thrive, with an enviable support programme to ensure that everybody has all the tools for success.”

Andy Brattesani, UK Head of Franchising at HSBC, said:

“It was fantastic to hear from the Franchisor of the Year finalists and learn about their journey into franchising. Snap-on Tools impressed the judges with its passion and initiative offerings. For instance, its ‘Jump-Start Programme’ which pays for half of the start-up costs, has been pivotal in allowing the leaders of tomorrow to get into franchising.”

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“It’s been a difficult year for all businesses, so we are pleased to see members of the franchise community thriving, having adapted to operate successfully despite the difficulties thrown their way.”

Snap-on Tools won the Bronze award, whilst Home Instead Senior Care took Gold and Revive! Auto Innovations took the Silver award.

By Georgie Duffield

Source: BDaily

Costcutter Supermarkets Group celebrates another successful Co-op franchise conversion

November 18, 2020

Costcutter Supermarkets Group (CSG) reports it is celebrating a further successful franchise conversion by transforming its company-owned store in Fremington, North Devon to a Co-op store.

CSG’s says that its market-leading business growth transformation programme, Shopper First, proved instrumental in helping the store develop and deliver continuous sales growth by ensuring it had a strong, relevant offer for today’s convenience shopper, which saw the potential of the Fremington outlet to become a Co-op franchise.

The conversion of the 2,600 sq.ft. store to a Co-op, saw a joint £250,000 investment from both CSG and Co-op, and has created six new jobs, said CSG. The store now offers the award-winning, ethically-sourced, Fairtrade Co-op Own Brand range and focuses on fresh healthy produce, wines and ready meals, along with a wide selection of Free-From and vegan products.

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The Co-op franchise opportunity through CSG aims to offer retailers and investors across the UK the opportunity to open a Co-op store, with the combined support of both CSG and the Co-op.

Lucy Frost, director of franchise at CSG, commented: “The Fremington store marks another milestone in our exclusive convenience retail-franchise agreement with Co-op and clearly demonstrates our commitment to widening our reach and building on our joint success in convenience retailing.

“Alongside our work with investors and independent retailers to progress Co-op franchise opportunities, we have continued to explore how we can build on the successes we have seen in the transformation of our other company stores to Co-op franchises and Fremington was the obvious next choice to help us expand our franchise footprint. Previous company-owned stores have increased turnover by a minimum of 50 per cent, and we’re confident that Fremington will follow a similar path.

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“Our experience of operating in the convenience sector for over 30 years, together with the strength of the Co-op offer, which shoppers love, has created a strong franchise model. We continuing to work through an exciting pipeline of investors and retailers keen to realise the success that a Co-op franchise can offer.”

Martin Rogers, head of new channels at Co-op, added: “At the Co-op we are always looking for ways to reach new customers and members, and our latest franchise store is a great example of how we are growing our brand to generate mutual value with a likeminded partner.

“Our Co-op purpose is about connecting communities, bringing people together and making a difference and every time our own brand products are purchased with a Co-op Membership card, you know you’re helping communities here and around the world. We have the capability to deliver franchising at scale and we’re confident this will continue to be an attractive proposition for potential investors.”

CSG operates four brands across the UK and the Republic of Ireland consisting of Costcutter, Mace, Simply Fresh and Supershop.

Source: Franchise World

Co-op opens first franchise store in Scotland

November 3, 2020

Community retailer, Co-op, opened its first franchise store in Scotland at Stirling University on Thursday 22 October, with a Nisa partner.

The store, which will be managed and run by the Nisa partner, will deliver Co-op quality products and good prices conveniently to students and the community.

With a successful track record and the proven ability to deliver franchising at scale, Stirling University is the 14th Co-op franchise store. The retailer has demonstrated the flexibility of its model by offering a number of routes to market and through a mix of partners including university unions, independent retailers and its latest partnership with catering provider Gather & Gather.

Martin Rogers, Head of New Channels at Co-op said: “At the Co-op we are always looking for ways to reach new customers and members, and this a hugely exciting opportunity to grow our brand north of the border. Our franchise stores operate in exactly the same way as a company owned store and all of our partners have access to a full service model, receiving support, tools and training to enable them to grow their business with Co-op.

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“Our Co-op purpose is about connecting communities, bringing people together and making a difference and we are looking to generate mutual value with likeminded partners and succeed together.”

As part of its strategy to get closer to communities and to what its customers want, need and, care about, franchising extends the reach of the brand and allows Co-op to reach new markets. The model provides a unique proposition for independent retailers who share the Co-op values and principles to become part of the Co-op community.

Located in the Andrew Miller building on the university’s campus, the store will be open to serve customers between 7am and midnight daily and it will also run on 100% renewable electricity. With an ATM and Seattle coffee point, Stirling University Co-op will focus on fresh heathy produce, award-winning wines, ready meals and pizzas, free-from and vegan products, Fairtrade, food-to-go and everyday essentials.

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Students who are Young Scot cardholders can pocket a 10% discount off groceries and contactless card payment limits up to £45 will be accepted, making it easier, quicker and safer to shop.

With safety of paramount importance Co-op has introduced strict measures since the outbreak of Covid-19 including rigorous cleanliness, social distancing, limiting the number of customers in store, protective screens at check-outs, and the wearing of visors and face-coverings. In addition, contactless card payment limits are increased to £45, making it easier, quicker and safer to shop.

By Fiona Briggs

Source: Retail Times

Mothercare launches new UK franchise with Boots

September 29, 2020

MOTHERCARE today said it was continuing to cut costs as it launches its new UK and Ireland franchise with Boots.

Over the last financial year, Mothercare said it transitioned the business to refocus on brand management and the design, development and sourcing of product ‎to support its international franchise partners. It is now serving 791 stores across 40 countries.

Mothercare has announced its full year results for the 52 week period to March 28 2020. Comparatives are based on the 53 weeks to March 30 2019.

The loss from continuing operations for the full year was £7.2 million, which compared with a £21.1 million loss the year before.

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Total profit for the year was £14.4 million, compared with a £97.0 million loss in the comparative period.

The administration of Mothercare UK has also been completed, including the transfer of brand rights and intellectual property into the group.

Mothercare said it had eliminated around £30 million of operating losses through the closure of the UK retail division.

Clive Whiley,the chairman of Mothercare, commented: “We have diligently managed our way through to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic during this period of global crisis, and we emerge in better shape than we went into it.

“We continue to reduce costs and improve our efficiency. We are excited to launch our new UK and Ireland franchise with Boots, restoring the Mothercare brand to its home territory.

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“We have entered into a new 20 year franchise agreement with Alshaya, our largest partner. We have successfully rolled out our innovative, working capital light arrangements with our manufacturing and franchise partners.

“We are now singularly focused upon building Mothercare as a global brand, both in our existing territories and beyond. We are confident with these foundations now in place Mothercare can move forward as a profitable and cash generative international franchise business, generating revenues through an asset-light model in some 40 international territories.”

“This would not have been possible without the support of all of our stakeholders whom, on behalf of the board, I would like to thank for enabling us to get to this point. As a result, from today, Mothercare can look forward to a brighter and stable future once more.”

By Greg Wright

Source: Yorkshire Evening Post

Co-op to create 1,000 jobs and open 50 new stores

September 7, 2020

Grocery chain the Co-op is opening 50 new stores and creating 1,000 new jobs this year.

The new roles come on top of the 1,000 posts it added during lockdown as demand from shoppers increased.

The extra jobs announced today will be spread across the new shops and 15 stores that are being enlarged.

The Co-op said its research had found that 70% of adults have relied on their local convenience store for food and other goods in recent months

The retailer also said that it had expanded its online shop.

The Co-op currently employs 55,000 workers across the UK and has 2,600 stores. The new stores will open in areas such as Wrexham, London, Poole, Leeds and Guildford.

Meanwhile up to 12 new Co-op franchise stores are also set to launch this year, including at Oxford Brookes University and Stirling University, with more university locations planned for 2021.

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“We continually look for new locations, sites which are definitively convenient in their community,” said David Roberts, managing director of Co-op Property.

He said more than 100 of the Co-op’s outlets would receive major makeovers as part of a £130m investment programme.

The chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, James Lowman, said: “This commitment to investing in stores in the coming months is testament to the importance of the convenience sector.”

The grocery sector has seen a surge in demand during the pandemic, and the big supermarket chains have also been creating jobs.

Last month, Tesco said it would create 16,000 permanent jobs after the lockdown led to “exceptional growth” in its online business.

‘Financial fallout’

While the grocery sector has done well, other parts of the economy have been hit hard by the pandemic.

It was announced on Friday that 540 workers at Nationwide Accident Repair Services have lost their jobs after the struggling business was sold to RunMyCar in a pre-packaged administration.

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As part of the deal 30 of Nationwide’s sites have been shut.

Founded in 1993 in Witney, Oxfordshire, the business operated 115 garages across the country, as well as a mobile fleet of repair vans, servicing the accident repair market for UK insurers.

But the company suffered a substantial decline in business during lockdown as millions of motorists stayed off the road.

“As with many other businesses, the group had to weather major financial fallout due to the economic impact of Covid-19, which meant that trading volumes were significantly reduced,” said Rob Lewis, joint administrator at PwC.

“Against that backdrop, the sale announced today reflects a significant positive outcome for the business, and we are especially pleased to have safeguarded 2,350 roles including apprentices, mechanics and technicians.

“Sadly we have had to make 540 staff redundant.”

Source: BBC

Mothercare goods to be sold through Irish Boots stores

August 21, 2020

Babycare retailer Mothercare UK has finalised a deal with Boots to sell goods across the chain in time for the autumn season.

Mothercare announced a new business model following talks with its franchisee.

Under the terms of the deal with Boots the pharmacy chain will become Mothercare’s Ireland and UK franchise partner.

The agreement, which was first announced in December, allows for Mothercare clothing to be sold in all Boots shops across the two countries, while bigger items such as pushchairs and car seats will be sold in the larger Boots stores. The products will also be available to buy online.

The Boots deal had suffered a series of delays due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mothercare – which last year put its UK stores into administration, closing all 79 of its shops – has also announced a new business model after talks with franchisees.

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It said the new franchise arrangements would ensure a “more sustainable and less capital-intensive business model”.

That model will see the group’s franchise partners pay for products directly to the manufacturers.

Shares in Mothercare jumped in morning trading yesterday, rising as much as 18pc at one stage yesterday before settling around 7pc higher in London.

As well as the 10-year Boots deal, Mothercare said it had also struck a new 20-year franchise arrangement with Alshaya Group, its main franchise partner.

But Mothercare added that it still expects to take a £10m (€11m) hit from the UK stores entering administration last November.

The administration left Mothercare refocused on simply providing branded products to retailers.

In June, the group was also dealt a blow when temporary boss Glyn Hughes said he did not want the job on a permanent basis.

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His departure saw Mothercare led by the chief operating officer and chief financial officer, under the eye of chairman Clive Whiley.

Mothercare Ireland was placed into liquidation in June with the loss of 197 jobs after the directors said they could no longer see a viable future for the business.

Prior to that the company – which is a separate entity to Mothercare UK – had operated 14 stores across Cork, Drogheda, Dublin, Dundalk, Galway, Limerick, Newbridge, Portlaoise, Sligo and Tralee.

The business had been operating in Ireland since 1992.

In 2018 sales in Ireland were €28.5m, generating a profit of €136,000.

By Ellie Donnelly

Source: Independent