There appears to be no sitting on the fence when it comes to joining a franchise and I experienced both sides of the debate this week.

On one hand, Shetland Isles c-store Tagon Stores tweeted: “One Stop has made various follower requests. How many times do we have to say no before they take the hint? #Don’tEverWantToHelpTesco.”

On the other, a leading symbol retailer with four shops told me franchise is the future. He points to the 23% margin One Stop pioneer Sunder Sandher is earning, and the strong margins on promotions that eliminate the need to chase deals, for evidence.

For Sunder, it’s the £50k investment Tesco-owned One Stop makes in franchise stores and the constant push to grow sales every week attractive. He understands the anti-Tesco sentiment. But he says the reaction of his customers – and the amount they spend with him – speaks for itself.

How the symbol groups react is going to be interesting. Today’s symbol boss John Kinney told RN it was a sad reflection that the industry couldn’t get its offer right to keep high profile retailers like Sunder independent.[pull_quote_right]It’s going to be a fascinating year. I’m looking forward to leading the debate on 6 October at the Local Shop Summit. An unmissable event if you need to make up your mind.[/pull_quote_right]

Simply Fresh boss Kash Khera, meanwhile, asks if a One Stop franchisee would want to go head to head with a really great independent like Simon Biddle, who has a great product mix and local offering. A 23% margin on a lower turnover would be less money in the till, after all.

It’s going to be a fascinating year. I’m looking forward to leading the debate on 6 October at the Local Shop Summit. An unmissable event if you need to make up your mind.