Co-op ups recruitment efforts for franchisees 

Co-op has increased its recruitment efforts for new franchisees across the Midlands, north-west England, the East Coast and Scotland amid plans to increase franchised sites by more than 100 by the end of 2026. 

The company has been active at multiple franchise trade shows across the UK over the past year as part of its growth strategy. 

Posting on social media, Martin Hawthorne, a member of Co-op’s franchise business development team, said the convenience chain was particularly interested in recruiting retailers who would operate multiple sites. 

Successful franchisees would need to have £350,000 in liquidity per site, with 20% return on their investment each year. 

He said: “This is an investment-level opportunity, we do not expect our franchisees to work in the stores. We want you to concentrate on growing a large multi-unit franchise business.” 

Hawthorne added that Co-op was “particularly keen” to speak to franchise investors from the Midlands, north-west England, the East Coast and Scotland as part of its latest recruitment efforts. 

He said the chain had already secured a number of new franchisees during its recent campaign. 

Read more: INTERVIEW: Central Co-op chief executive Debbie Robinson

The growth target of more than 100 stores would represent a 300% increase from the 35 sites it currently has, with the latest site opening on Birley Moor Road in Sheffield last month. 

Overall, there are more than 2,500 Co-op stores across the UK. 

Asked to comment further on its recruitment plans, a Co-op spokesperson told RN: “Co-op is focused on expanding its franchise business, with ambitions to treble the operation over the next three years. 

“It is interested in hearing from potential, quality, franchise partners from all across the UK. 

“Co-op franchise believes that the franchise support should extend beyond the store set up, so help, support and guidance is provided every step of the way in order to deliver success.” 

“Working in partnership with Co-op, franchise operators enjoy access to Co-op support from store design to marketing, technology to training and replenishment, providing the knowledge and tools needed to run a successful business.” 

“As a Co-op franchisee, operators will have the opportunity to open, own and operate a Co-op store which shoppers recognise for its quality and ethics”. 

The spokesperson added franchisees would also receive in-store discounts as part of the company’s “membership proposition”. 

“Earlier this year, Co-op confirmed it is investing in growing its member-base by a million more members over the next five years,” they said. 

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