Global telecommunications brand O2 has announced that it will be offering 82 of its stores to its network of franchisees. It anticipates having 202 franchisees in the coming nine months. This will represent nearly 50% of the 462 shops the brand has in total. The stores will be offered to both their existing employees and also to local entrepreneurs who are keen to invest in their own franchised business.
The stores will be profitable units and offered via the franchise model, taking them out of company ownership. The move demonstrates the brand's support for franchising and its commitment to furthering the success of the franchise network.
The company has announced that it will be targeting entrepreneurs in various locations to get involved and run their own shop. Ownership positions will be considered for both new applicants and some of O2's staff and an investment level of 50,000 is necessary. O2 has announced that it expects the search for franchisees to take around nine months to complete. No jobs will be lost as a result of this change and existing staff will be moving over to work within the headcount of the newly franchised store.
The brand announced that the new approach would allow O2 to continue to maintain as well as grow its high-street presence and free up valuable capital which it will re-invest into the business for product and service development. The operator's business model has in fact been predicated upon a blend of franchised outlets and company-owned shops since 2005.
The general manager of O2, Crispin Lowery, explained that the brand was positive and excited about the impact the change would have on their business. Retail estate is key to their ongoing success and working directly with ambitious entrepreneurs via the franchise model will unlock the full potential of their 82 stores, particularly where local relevance is critical.
He added that the brand took a 'forensic' approach to select the stores, specifically identifying shops which would benefit most strongly from a local approach, where the knowledge, skills and talent of an ambitious entrepreneur could really unleash their full potential.