Operator says growth of its franchise operation is also open to existing staff as it makes 82 stores available to partners
Almost half of all O2 retail stores will be franchised during next year, the operator has confirmed.
O2 currently has 462 retail stores – of which around 120 are currently independently run as part of its franchise scheme, which launched in 2005.
But last week the operator announced a further 82 current store locations will be available for franchisees, taking franchise store numbers to more than 200.
O2 said stores will be available for an investment of around £50,000 per store and it is welcoming entrepreneurs and even current retail staff to take ownership of stores.
O2 said the changes will not result in any staff redundancies.
O2 will make people aware of franchise opportunities through local newspaper advertisements, franchisee publications and through the website www.make-bubbles.com, it said.
The stores selected to be run as franchises have yet to be decided, but O2 said they would be “profitable”.
O2 general manager for retail Crispin Lowery said the decision would help free up “millions” in capital which will be invested back in to the company. He also said franchise stores typically outperform O2’s direct ones.
He said: “The option to be a franchisee is open to everyone but we’re very rigorous in the way we recruit.
“There are some great opportunities for local entrepreneurs and existing staff to get involved.
“A number of our existing franchisees are looking to expand, so there is a close network within the franchise population.
“This is not about O2 stepping away, this is a way of bringing in new partners to continue the growth of our stores.
“There are plenty of places in the UK where there isn’t an O2 store and we know franchising in these particular local areas works really well.”