Clarks shoe shop in Wilmslow converted to franchise

January 13, 2020

A CLARKS shoe shop in Wilmslow has been converted to operate as a franchise store after Tonks Shoes secured six-figure funding from NatWest.

The five current employees will continue to work at the shoe shop on Grove Street.

The business has also bought a second franchise store of the iconic shoe brand in Sheffield, with a further 12 staff, and bringing the company’s total of Clarks franchises to seven.

Established in 1978, Tonks Shoes Ltd was launched by Jeffrey and Elizabeth Tonks as an independent shoe retailer selling men’s, women’s and children’s shoes.

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Michael Tonks, their son, took over the business in 1982, opening franchises under the Tonks Shoes’ brand, until the firm became an official Clarks franchisee in 2000, changing its existing stores to come under the Clarks brand.

Now in its third generation, Matthew Tonks is managing director of the Leigh-headquartered business, overseeing its seven franchises across the north west and Yorkshire.

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The two recent acquisitions bring the company’s total number of staff to close to 100 and will contribute to an annual turnover of more than £4 million.

Matthew Tonks said: “By adding two more stores to our portfolio we have supported Clarks’ high street presence and kept experienced staff in the process.

Related: Clarks Franchise

“The backing from NatWest has enabled us to take ownership of this valued Wilmslow store, continuing to bring the products from this established and iconic brand to the town.”

Ruth Kirby, relationship manager at NatWest, said: “Tonks Shoes Ltd are passionate about supporting high street stores in towns across the North of England.

“We look forward to supporting the business in the future as Matthew and the team look to expand the firm’s portfolio further.”

By Ian Ross

Source: Knutsford Guardian

Body Shop relocates flagship Belfast store

January 6, 2020

Belfast’s Body Shop store situated on Donegall Place is relocating to Victoria Square from today.

The beauty retailer will now operate from a unit on the lower level of the shopping centre, next to shirt shop TM Lewin.

It will become Northern Ireland’s flagship store for the brand which was founded by the late Dame Anita Roddick in Brighton in 1976.

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The retailer began as a small shop providing skincare in refilled bottles that would see it become a brand that “could be a force of good for the world”.

It was a pioneer in non-animal tested products and today it has become a retail business that serves over 30m customers worldwide, employing 10,000 people with a further 12,000 in its franchise team.

Ms Roddick sold the business to L’Oreal in 2006 just a year before she died.

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Two years ago it was bought by Brazilian company Natura in a £844m deal.

And, on Friday, Natura announced that it had also completed the purchase of global beauty retail brand Avon, following the sale which was announced on May 22, 2019.

There are currently 3,000 Body Shop shops located in 70 countries worldwide, three of which are in Northern Ireland.

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Among its most popular products over the years have been Body Shop’s oil fragrances including White Musk, which the retailer still sells.

Its more modern product heroes include its Body Shop Drops of Youth serum, one of which sells every 23 seconds according to one report. One of its Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Mask sells every 17 seconds.

By Emma Deighan

Source: Belfast Telegraph

Co-op Group eyes same-day delivery service for franchise stores

January 4, 2020

The Co-op Group is considering expanding its same-day online delivery service to franchise stores “in the near future”, after confirming plans to roll out the service to 650 company-owned stores this year.

In January, Brighton, Bournemouth and Southampton will be among the first new cities to get the service, which is currently only available in London and Manchester.

The rollout over the next 12 months includes services from the Co-op’s own dedicated online shop, known as, which uses low-emission transport including eco-friendly bikes. By the end of the year same-day deliveries will be available in 650 stores in nearly 100 major towns and cities.

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A Co-op spokeswoman said the group would like to offer the service to franchise stores “in the near future”, with additional back office work required to make it feasible.

The Co-op launched its franchise programme to independent Nisa and Costcutter retailers last year. Somerset retailer Richard Williams became the first Nisa member to convert his store to the Co-op franchise model towards the end of last year.

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The Co-op will also expand its partnership with Deliveroo, which provides on-demand delivery of convenience grocery essentials in under 30 minutes.

Ordering through Deliveroo will be extended to 400 stores, reaching around 100 major towns and cities. Deliveroo will caters for customers who want a quick, impulse buy rather than scheduled same-day delivery, the Co-op said.

By Robin Mannering

Source: Convenience Store

Kutchenhaus showroom opens in Orchard Shopping Centre, Taunton

December 20, 2019

GERMAN kitchen retailer Kutchenhaus has this month opened a new showroom in Taunton – its 32nd outlet in the UK.

The company has taken on three staff across customer services and kitchen design based at the 1,300 sq ft unit.

Manager Graham Jones has worked for some of the biggest kitchen retailers in the UK over the past 30 years

He said: “The team is incredibly excited to have opened the brand-new showroom in Taunton.

“It has taken three months to completely transform the space to Kutchenhaus’s high-quality standards.

“We’re eager to meet shoppers and introduce them to our products.”

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Kutchenhaus products are made by Nobilia in Germany, which claims to be the largest and most technologically advanced kitchen manufacturer in Europe.

Sean Ford, national head of sales and operations for Kutchenhaus, said: “Kutchenhaus is on an ambitious growth path over the next two to three years, so it’s fantastic to see the opening of our latest showroom in Taunton.

“We’re very excited to be part of the new showroom opening in Taunton, which is a busy shopping destination with a vibrant atmosphere for many people in Devon and Somerset.

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“The new showroom will be an engaging store environment and will deliver a high-quality product, a market opportunity which we know is currently in high demand.

“We wish Graham and the team all the best and wait to see their future success.”

Established in 2004, Kutchenhaus is a franchise business owned by Nobilia.

By Phil Hill

Source: Somerset County Gazette

Mothercare appoints Boots as its UK franchise partner

December 16, 2019

Mothercare products will continue to be sold in the UK – via new franchise partner Boots.

The nursery retail brand, which put its UK retail arm into administration last month, said today that it had appointed Boots as its franchise partner for this market.

The news comes days after Mothercare said its UK stores had not proved financially viable in an increasingly discount-driven market. At the same it said the only viable way for it to sell in this market would be via a franchisee – and that it was in ongoing discussions on the subject.

Today it unveiled the new exclusive partnership with Boots, which it says will offer significant opportunities to both Mothercare and Boots, owned by Walreens Boots Alliance.

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Boots will sell Mothercare-branded clothing, home, and travel equipment such as pushchairs and car seats both online via and in its stores. The range will be available online from mid 2020 and in larger branches of Boots from late summer 2020. In time, Boots will also host Mothercare shops within its stores.

An initial agreement has been signed, with final details expected to be in place in the next quarter. The partnership will run for an initial five years and is organised on similar terms to Mothercare’s existing international franchises.

Mark Newton-Jones, chief executive of Mothercare, said: “I am delighted to announced that we have taken our long-standing partnership with Boots to this next stage. In Boots, another much loved British heritage brand, we believe that Mothercare has found the right home in the UK. Boots is at the heart of one of the largest healthcare businesses in the world, and Mothercare will fit in as the specialist brand for parents and young children in both Boots stores and online. We know the team at Boots well from our successful Mini Club partnership which has been established over many years and we now look forward to working in an even stronger collaboration with the Boots team for the future.

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“Today’s announcement is fantastic news for the brand and the millions of Mothercare customers across the UK. It is also great news for Mothercare and our wider group of stakeholders after what has been a tough period. This partnership between Mothercare and Boots UK brings certainty and scale to our continuing group. These are exciting times as we enter into these new arrangements with a partner of the scale, scope and stature of Boots.”

Boots, founded 170 years ago, currently sells from more than 2,400 stores in the UK and online via its website. It is a Leading retailer in IRUK Top500 research.

By Chloe Rigby

Source: Internet Retailing

Mothercare sales plunge by 13% in first half amidst restructuring

December 12, 2019

Mothercare ends first half of 2019 on the low. The British childrenswear company, immersed in a restructuring process, has dropped its sales by 13.2%, to 324.1 million pounds (426.1 million dollars) in the first half of its fiscal year. The company’s gross profit stood at 21.2 million pounds (27.7 million dollars), up 14% year-on-year.

“This has been an extraordinarily challenging period in Mothercare’s 58-year history, particularly for our committed, hard-working colleagues who have worked tirelessly to sustain our UK retail operation,” stated Mark Newton-Jones, chief executive officer of Mothercare, in a statement.

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“It was simply not financially viable to maintain the UK store estate and supporting infrastructure any longer without putting the whole Mothercare group at risk,” added the executive. In the first half, like-for-like sales of ​​Mothercare in the country dropped by 2%, while online sales increased by 68.9%. The total revenue of the group in the country reduced by 19.2%, to 131.8 million pounds (173.3 million dollars).

Mothercare sales dropped in the United Kingdom by 19% and in its international markets by 4%

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In its international markets, revenue fell by 4%, to 102.3 million pounds (134.5 million dollars). Like-for-like sales fell by 5.7%. Newton-Jones explained that, although closures in the United Kingdom had been a “very difficult decision”, it marks the end of the transformation of the group into a “cash generative and profitable business”.

“We believe that, without the financial and management burden of running a UK retail operation, we can singularly focus Mothercare on its global international franchise,” added Newton-Jones. The executive also stated that 130 million babies born every year across the world, compared to 700,000 in the United Kingdom.

Source: The MDS

Bestway Retail poised to leverage key demographic mapping data

November 17, 2019

Bestway Retail has completed its UK-wide demographic mapping exercise, allowing its franchise and symbol group retailers to leverage key insights into which ranges, promotions and operational models offer the best fit for specific postcode locations.

Chief retail officer Andy Cresswell told C-Store the group was now “looking ahead,” and had “refocused the business” following the turmoil related to the collapse of Conviviality and Bestway’s subsequent acquisition of its retail brands.

The mapping process, undertaken over the last six months with data specialist CACI, had taken a “huge amount of resource and time” but its culmination had helped the business to take up a “fighting position; something which is key in the industry today because it’s tough out there,” he said.

“It’s given us real clarity on a significant range of factors, including who the local competition is and key details about the customer demographic, allowing us to model precisely which formats would be the most successful for that specific location.

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“It’s a huge opportunity as we can now have a much better conversation with retailers about picking the right operating model for them.”

The development was likely to result in some switching between store formats in a bid to ensure that they were best suited to their unique locations, Cresswell added. The “plentiful” data would also enable Bestway to focus promotions and special offers much better to local areas and to send specific limited stock promotions to exactly the right stores.

Cresswell confirmed that the next stage of the process was a review of all the company’s retail brands, where the group now has a model for all types of customer from retail club, symbol (Best-one), franchise (Bargain Booze) and specialist (Wine Rack). However, he maintained, “we won’t be refitting hundreds of stores in the next few months, this is a long-term project”.

“Some will be better suited to a Bargain Booze format, while others may have a significant opportunity for growth under a more specialist drinks led format such as Wine Rack. Likewise, there are convenience-led fascias for others where we have an opportunity to be the primary top-up store for that location,” he added.

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Franchisee confidence in the business was also improving, Cresswell claimed. “From a franchise perspective, confidence is everything. Last year we lost a lot of (Bargain Booze) franchisees but this year we are now back at what I would call normal attritional levels, and have opened a few new sites with franchisees” Creswell added.

The180-strong company-owned store estate, 105 of which are the formerly P&H-owned Central Convenience Stores, will also benefit from the completed data project, and the outlets will be increasingly used to trial activity such as new forms of promotions and customer communication.

“Our focus on our company owned store estate has been ramped up, including the appointment of a new regional operations manager for the south where the Central Convenience Stores estate is concentrated,” Creswell added.

By Gaelle Walker

Source: Convenience Store

Mothercare goes into administration putting thousands of UK jobs at risk

November 6, 2019

MOTHERCARE is expected to plunge into administration within the next 48 hours putting 2,500 jobs and 79 stores in the UK at risk.

The loss-making baby and maternity-wear seller, which was founded in 1961, has today revealed plans to line-up administrators after failing to turn around poor performance.

Mothercare’s stores and website are trading as usual for now, but once appointed, administrators will decide whether or not to axe shops and jobs while they either search for a buyer or wind the company down.

Shoppers with gift cards should consider spending them while they still can, while those planning to return items should also do so sooner rather than later.

It’s unclear what will happen to those with credit agreements but you’ll likely have to continue making repayments even if the firm goes into administration.

The Mothercare Group has more than 1,000 stores internationally in over 40 countries, but it’s been trying to sell the UK business for some time now.

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Last year, Mothercare carried out what’s known as a “Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA)” that saw it close 58 of its then 137 shops in the UK.

A small proportion of the closing stores came from Mothercare’s Childrens World division, which went into administration.

These closures were completed by March this year, and the business has been shutting other outlets over the past 12 months too.

Now, there are just 79 stores remaining with the group employing 500 full-time staff in the UK and 2,000 part-time workers.

Accountancy firm KPMG had been brought in to look at all the options available to the Mothercare Group.

But Mothercare has now revealed its intention to appoint administrators.

In a statement Mothercare said: “Since May 2018, we have undertaken a root and branch review of the Group and Mothercare UK within it, including a number of discussions over the summer with potential partners regarding our UK Retail business.

“Through this process, it has become clear that the UK Retail operations of the Group, which today includes 79 stores, are not capable of returning to a level of structural profitability and returns that are sustainable for the Group as it currently stands and/or attractive enough for a third party partner to operate on an arm’s length basis.

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“Furthermore, the Company is unable to continue to satisfy the ongoing cash needs of Mothercare UK.

“These notices of intent to appoint administrators in respect of Mothercare UK and MBS are a necessary step in the restructuring and refinancing of the Group.”

Just a few months ago in March 2019, Mothercare sold its Early Learning Centre business to The Entertainer for £13.5million.

Despite this, the retailer has continued to struggle in the UK.

In the year to March 2019, the retailer recorded a loss before tax of £87.3million.

Internationally, the retailer is much more successful and turned a profit of £28.3million in the same period.

Salman Haqqi, personal finance expert at comparison site, said: “It’s undoubtedly distressing news for employees of Mothercare and their families especially so close to Christmas.

“Now is the time to check what redundancy rights you have and dig out any income or mortgage protection policies you hold just in case.”

Worried staff can contact the Money Advice Service for free on 0800 138 7777.

Back in April, Debenhams fell into administration with 50 stores to close after Mike Ashley’s rescue plan failed.

And in July, struggling shoe shop Office said it “could close branches as part of restructuring plans”.

Meanwhile, last month, the owner of hairdressing chain Supercuts went into administration putting 1,200 jobs at risk.

By Jacob Dirnhuber

Source: The Sun

First Nisa Partner Opens Co-op Franchise Store

October 30, 2019

The Co-op yesterday opened its first franchise store with a Nisa partner following the launch of its franchising scheme earlier this year.

The store, located in the Brunel Shopping Centre, Somerton, previously traded under the name Williams. It has now reopened under Co-op brand following a £600,000 investment that saw the introduction of an in-store bakery, coffee dispenser and hot food, alongside an extensive range of fresh and locally sourced goods.

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The Somerton store is the eighth Co-op franchise store to open following the society’s decision to licence its brand to independent retailers for the first time in order to accelerate its expansion in the convenience sector. The first seven Co-op franchise stores are said to have seen sales growth in excess of 50% following conversion.

Richard Williams, the Co-op Somerton store owner, commented: “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to carry out such a significant investment in Somerton. Our ambition is to ensure that our store remains a local hub and a real asset for the community.”

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Martin Rogers, Head of New Channels at the Co-op, added: “We’re looking for the right retailers in the right locations to share in our success and we are delighted that Richard has come on board as our first Nisa partner franchise.

“Richard’s store is the perfect example of where we can join forces with a well-established, community store, retain the catchment of the retailer whilst offering its shoppers Co-op quality and value products.”

Source: KamCity

First look inside Stockton Heath’s newest shop

October 29, 2019

THE newest shop on the high street in Stockton Heath opens on Saturday. Kitchen retailer Kutchenhaus opens its first Warrington store on London Road.

Boasting 1,100 square foot of retail space, the Warrington store will employ two staff in customer services and kitchen design. The shop will be managed by Chris Smith, who has worked with Kutchenhaus product for more than 11 years. Most recently he worked at the head office, growing the franchise network from nine stores to 25.

Rob Greenhalgh, who co-owns the Warrington business with Chris, comes from a kitchen installation background with over 20 years’ experience fitting. Rob said:“The team is incredibly excited to be opening the new store in Warrington, our friendly team is looking forward to welcoming the community to the official launch on Saturday.

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“It has taken one month to completely transform the space to Kutchenhaus’ high-quality standards. We are looking forward to meeting shoppers and introducing them to Kutchenhaus. We believe the people of the surrounding area deserve access to German engineered kitchens at a really affordable price.”

Sean Ford, national head of sales and operations for Kutchenhaus, said: “Kutchenhaus is on an ambitious growth path over the next two to three years, so it’s fantastic to see the opening of our first store in Warrington.

“We are very excited to be part of the new showroom opening in Warrington, a community we believe is a perfect destination for a Kutchenhaus store due to its central location and access to major motorways. The new store will no doubt offer an engaging store environment and deliver a high-quality product, a market opportunity which we know is currently in high demand. We wish Chris and the team all the best and wait to see their future success.”

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Established in 2004, Kutchenhaus is a franchise business owned by Europe’s largest kitchen manufacturer, Nobilia. Customers can both buy online at or one of its 32 showrooms across the UK.

By Gareth Dunning

Source: Warrington Guardian