FRANCHISE retailer Fonehouse is on the hunt for over 50 new franchise partners as it looks to more than double its store portfolio
from 45 to over 100 in the next 18 months.
The retailer is setting its sights on expanding into secondary towns and is offering cut price terms to allow partners to open stores
in these areas for less than £15,000 – which is at least half the cost of opening a Fonehouse store in a prime city centre location.
Speaking to Mobile, Clive Bayley, Fonehouse Chairman said: ‘We want to get our store numbers up from 45 to at least one hundred as soon as possible. We want to open them in the next 18 months or less and we are looking for over 50 partners to run them.’
Bayley said Fonehouse will continue to open stores in prime locations in city centres but is keen to advance into smaller towns ‘across the country.’
The cut price format follows its successful trial at a Fonehouse store in Weston Super Mare. The new stores will sport a pared down version of the existing Fonehouse store design.
Bayley said the difference in the two stores was minimal. ‘Our aim is to go into less competitive regions where our partners will not be competing with other big mobile stores. For that reason you don’t need a £30,000 shopfit.’
Bayley insisted the shops will still look like Fonehouse stores. ‘They will still maintain an A grade branded look. We have played with the shopfit to get the costs down, so, for example the signage is the same but cheaper because it is not backlit to the same degree, there are no large tables and no live handset display area – although there will be live handsets provided by the manufacturers at their points of sale in the stores.’
Fonehouse stores opening in secondary towns will also target the local business community. The stores will have dedicated b2b areas supported by EE and featuring EE business deals. The business zones will also promote b2b deals on Fonehouse’s own MVNO Fonehouse Business.
Bayley said franchise partners must have previous experience in the mobile industry to qualify for the scheme.
He said: ‘We want experienced mobile professionals. We will also provide training but they must know the business of mobile phones, so that could be someone who has owned or managed a mobile store or from the b2b side of the business .
He added: ‘It is a great opportunity. We have a great product range including our own accessories brand which we are set to
launch. We have partnerships with EE, Vodafone and Three and we are a well known national brand. This is a real opportunity to be a big fish in a small pond.’