WHSmith has confirmed its independent WHSmith Local franchise retailers will no longer be able to renew their contracts, breaking promises made in October last year.
The company last year announced it was halting further expansion of its Local franchise following a £2m decline in annual high street profit. When the announcement was made, betterRetailing was told by existing franchisees that the brand promised they would have the option to renew the contracts and continue trading under the Local brand.
However, when challenged on the promise following its results last week, a WHSmith spokesperson answered: “We continue to honour and support all of our existing franchise contracts until the end of their term, at which point we offer the option to continue buying and promoting WHSmith stationery under a wholesale agreement.”
Mark Dudden, who runs a WHSmith Local in Cardiff, said: “It’s a shame because we’re on a busy high street and it’s a good brand. We’ve got a post office, so I’m not too concerned about losing footfall and I’ll most likely continue buying under the wholesale agreement.”
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