JAG has rolled out the first 20 licences for its franchise programme and hopes to have a further 20 running in the next weeks.
The retailer shut 12 stores at the start of the month as part of a massive cost cutting programme. It has now reopened two stores as franchise operations, with another 18 lined up. The first stores are in Barnstaple, Devon, and in Par, Cornwall. JAG managing director John George (pictured) said he expects all 12 sites that were shut to be reopened by the end of July.
The 40 franchises George has earmarked would comprise the 12 stores closed last month, plus a number of sites that were removed from the JAG portfolio last year. George conceded further stores from within the existing JAG operation could also contribute.
“The response has been great and we rolled out our first 20 licences this week, and hope to have the second 20 on line next week,” said George.
“We have opened two of the 12 stores we closed as we carried out the reorganisation to make this dream a reality and hope to have the other 10 open again before the end of July. In addition we are just updating a store we left some time ago in St. Ives – because of the flash floods that hit the town.
“The landlord hasn’t been able to let the unit and we had most of our kit still in the store. We had a staff member who wanted to run the licence, we came to an agreement with the landlord and he agreed to reopen. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was to happen to a number of locations we walked away from last year.”
George added that he’s still heard nothing from O2 about the £350,000 it owes the retailer in connection costs. He said that O2 agreed to continue trading with JAG shortly after it went through a ‘prepack’ administration at the end of January but hasn’t received any payment from the network since.
“It’s frustrating that O2 has delayed for this long in paying what is owed to us and we just want to know when we’ll be paid,” he said. “However there’s no danger of us not selling O2 in our shops – we’ve traded with it since JAG started so we’ll find some means of connecting it.”