Orange is rolling out up to five more franchise stores with distributor Shebang.
The move comes after its first franchise store in Bridlington, Hull delivered a four-fold increase in business in its first year of trading.
The operator said this week the new franchise stores will open ‘very shortly’. It also confirmed it is in talks with ‘a number of other partners’ as part of its franchise programme.
Speaking to Mobile, Shebang MD Iain Humphrey said: ‘It has been an absolutely tremendous success. The Bridlington store is doing four times more business than it was as a third-party independent retailer.’
He said the franchise model played to the strengths of both partners, combining the local knowledge and expertise of the independent high street retailer with Orange’s brand strength and financial muscle.
‘It is a win-win situation for both parties,’ said Humphrey. ‘Sales have been outstanding and are continuing to grow.’
Humphrey dismissed claims that the programme had hit the buffers after Orange failed to deliver to the original timetable.
Orange said in July 2009 that it aimed to open 10 of the stores by the end of last year. In March 2010, Orange told Mobile it aimed to open ‘a handful’ by July this year.
However, to date, the Bridlington store is the only franchise Orange has launched.
Humphrey insisted Orange is still committed to the programme. He said: ‘These things do take time and Orange has to make sure they have got it right – not just for Shebang but for other franchises going forward.’
An Orange spokeswoman said: ‘We are more excited than ever about our franchise plans. We are planning to open a handful of franchise stores with Shebang very shortly and we are also in discussion with a number of other partners.’