Franchise numbers to hit 202 in the next nine months – almost half of the operator’s total of 462 shops – with stores to be offered to existing staff and local entrepreneurs
O2 will offer 82 of its profitable company-owned shops as franchise stores. The operator has a total of 462 shops across the UK, 202 of which will now be franchise-owned.
The company will target local entrepreneurs to run the shops. Both new and existing staff will be considered for the ownership position, with up to £50,000 of investment required. O2 expects the process of finding suitable franchise owners to take up to nine months.
No job losses will be experienced, with existing staff transferring over to work under the new franchise owner.
O2 said this franchise approach will help it to maintain and grow its presence on the high street, enabling it to free up capital to be invested back into the business for new products and services.
The operator has run a model that has incorporated a mix of company-owned stores and franchise outlets since 2005.
O2 general manager for retail Crispin Lowery said: “We’re really positive about the difference this will make to our business. A retail estate is vital to our continued success and working with the best entrepreneurial talent is a great way of us unlocking the potential of some of these stores, especially when they need to be locally relevant.
“We took a very forensic approach in terms of selecting those 82 stores, identifying those that would benefit most from that local approach, where the skills, knowledge and talent of an entrepreneur could really make the most of it.
“This approach means we can maintain and grow our presence on the high street. It’s an exciting move forward for O2 and another great example of innovation from us.”