3 Ireland is to open 20 new franchise stores as part of its retail expansion programme. The plans will bring its total number of franchise outlets in Ireland to 42. There are currently a further 200 independent retailers serving 3’s customer base in Ireland.
In addition, 3 will open eight of its own ‘store kiosks’, low-cost stalls that can be relocated across different shopping areas.
The retail expansion will see 90 new staff recruited across Ireland.
Most new franchise stores will come from 3’s existing retail partners. But 3 is also encouraging other independent dealers to join the programme.
3 Ireland sales and marketing director Elaine Carey said: “In tough economic times, 3 is backing local independent retailers by providing access to our brand and the economies of scale that come from joining a major retail network. At a time when many local independent resellers are seeing their partnerships disappear, 3’s expansion plans will bring a welcome boost to independent businesses.”
All of the 20 selected sites are close to National Broadband Scheme (NBS) areas. 3 has invested €600 million (£527m) in the project.
3 Ireland chief executive officer Robert Finnegan (pictured) said: “We’re delighted to announce our retail expansion. In 2009, we saw 40 per cent growth in our customer base. Our expansion plans reflect our ambition to strengthen our position in the Irish market over the next few years.
“Being close to our customers is a key focus for 3. At a time when the old networks are pulling back support for independent retailers this illustrates 3’s commitment to the Irish market.
“Since entering the market in 2005, 3 has worked very closely with local independent retailers and we already have an existing presence in every county in Ireland. This is a sure sign that 3 is continuing to challenge the old networks by offering better value price plans and first-class customer service.”