Joining a convenience franchise does not mean giving up independence or being forced to stifle entrepreneurial skills, says a leading symbol group boss.

Andrew King, franchise director of Tesco-owned One Stop Stores, told RN retailers would simply get more support than with a typical wholesaler-run symbol group model. Stores working with One Stop must buy 95% of stock from the group, but Mr King said the remainder offered scope to create a point of difference.

Mr King said that far from losing their independence, automatic ordering, ranging and distribution mean that franchisees are able to spend more time in their stores developing as retailers.

He also indicated One Stop was preparing to work with more news-focused stores by announcing the development of an EPoS system with an HND platform.

[pull_quote_right]We want our franchisees to put their faith in us to do the buying, ranging, merchandising and distribution and let them develop their skills as a retailer[/pull_quote_right]

Mr King’s comments come as One Stop announced that two stores in Scunthorpe had become franchise stores.

Meanwhile, WH Smith continues to roll out its Local franchise format and Nisa chief executive Neil Turton said that the symbol group was developing its own franchise offer.

In his first interview since joining One Stop, Mr King said: “Franchisees will still be running their own businesses and using their entrepreneurial skills to full effect. We will simply be giving them more support than they’ve had before, as it’s much more of a partnership to grow their business.

“We want our franchisees to put their faith in us to do the buying, ranging, merchandising and distribution and let them develop their skills as a retailer.”

Mr King said that franchisees would get a visit every four weeks from a development manager and receive chilled deliveries up to six times a week.

Retailers will be given guidance on pricing, but can set their own prices up to a maximum limit.

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