Twelve new stores opened under the Southern Co-op’s franchise programme in 2019, with further sites in the pipeline.
In total 34 franchise stores now operate under the Southern Co-op’s Welcome fascia across the South of England, from Bristol to Kent and central London.
The 34 Welcome stores are operated by 20 franchisees and include eight forecourt stores.
Southern Co-op’s franchise business manager Mike Fitton said: “We are proud to have attracted a range of experienced retailers to our co-operative family who have all welcomed our points of difference.
“As well as being an ethical retailer with community values, we also offer more personalised support which starts as soon as they sign up and continues every day via our dedicated franchise operations managers.
“As a collective, our franchisees are experiencing very positive like for like increases across all departments and we will continue to work closely with them to see where we can improve further.”
The franchisees are also encouraged to supply local produce to complement the Co-op range.
Fitton added: “We’re already working with new and existing franchisees to add more Welcome stores across the south. We’ll be progressing even further in the new decade offering our franchisees the best of the Co-op product ranges whilst keeping their independence and ability to make local decisions.”
Franchisee Prateek Shukla, who moved to Welcome in 2018 and opened a second Welcome in Swiss Cottage, London, in April 2019, said: “Since changing to Welcome a year ago my year-on-year sales are up by 20% with minimal conversion costs for me, so the decision to transfer my second store to the Welcome fascia was a no brainer.
“I’ve lowered my retail prices and maintained my % margin and increased my cash profit. My customers love the new offer.”
The Co-op Group also operates a franchise programme, which it launched last year. Somerset retailer Richard Williams was the first Nisa retailer to convert his store to the franchise programme, last October.
To find out more about Southern Co-op’s franchise opportunities, visit https://www.thesouthernco-operative.co.uk/food/franchise/.