With two new stores in May, the Welcome franchise team is expanding once again as it has reached the 60th store milestone.
As the team is increasing its store numbers, the Southern Co-op franchise has also increased the number of its field managers making sure there is even more personal support available for its franchises.
There are now 61 Welcome stores trading across 14 counties.
The latest two stores were opened in May and are run by the KashGroup in Milton Keynes – Bean Hill and Kents Hill.
Kash Jaffar of KashGroup said: “I had eight stores under a different brand and was looking for a stronger franchise. My stores sales had dropped as the support wasn’t there. Our biggest store suffered very heavily because of the lack of range and availability.
“To be honest, moving to Welcome is the best thing we have ever done. From opening the stores to trading, it has been the full package. It’s the support. It’s like a Rolls Royce package.
“There is a huge range and I am really happy that we can choose different products from the full Co-op range. Customers are seeing the wow factor. This is a franchise model that we can keep very simple, resulting in more professionalism which is really helpful. Now we can look to grow our business.”
As well as an increase in support, in 2021 Welcome saw 27% increase in sales.
There are now 28 franchisees operating Welcome franchise stores which are a mix of high street, forecourts and village locations.
Mike Fitton, Franchise Business Manager for Southern Co-op, said: “Whilst Milton Keynes is further north for us, as there will be eight stores grouped in a small geographic area, we were delighted to have them on board as it means we can still support the franchisee very well without stretching ourselves thinly. Our support for our franchisees is very important to us.
“In these stores, you can see what a difference it has already made being part of a strong brand with ethical values. The stores have each been given a full top to toe refit along with the introduction of more food to go lines and of course the Co-op own label range. Feedback from the customers has been extremely positive.
“With four new roles created in the Welcome team in 2021, we look forward to bringing even more stores on board in the months ahead and showing the difference it can make to customers and franchisees.”
Southern Co-op’s Welcome franchise gives retailers access to big brands with ethical values combined with expert guidance. Franchisees can choose to implement recommended store formats based on consumer insights or adapt plans using their own entrepreneurial flair. Franchisees are also encouraged to source products from local suppliers.
Other support available includes marketing, planograms, store development, space and sales analysis, a full EPOS and back office system, electronic shelf edge labels, dedicated support from an operations manager, and access to a support desk from 6am-8pm, seven days a week.