Co-op Convenience East leake

Franchisees will have their store designed as a Co-op and recieve full training

The Co-op has confirmed it is looking to open a “significant number” of franchise stores with independent retailers after launching a new website to sign up prospective franchisees.

The society launched the site at regional roadshows for its Nisa partners this week. It sets out the benefits of the scheme as well as the criteria for joining.

Franchisees will have their store designed as a Co-op, with support from the society’s format, layout, merchandising and branding teams, Co-op EPoS and back office services, automated replenishment and store-specific planograms.

They will also receive deliveries up to seven days a week, full training on how to operate a Co-op and 24/7 helpdesk access.

Franchise stores will also take part in the Co-op’s membership scheme which offers shoppers 5% cashback and a 1% donation to a local cause of their choice on all their Co-op own-brand purchases.

Read more: Co-op signals online move with director of e-commerce role

The stores must have a sales area of at least 2,000 sq ft and an 800 sq ft back of house storage area. They must also be recording weekly sales of £20,000 excluding VAT and sale from services such as Lotto, PayPoint and the Post Office.

“This is a significant milestone in our franchise ambition and we’re looking for the right retailers in the right locations to share in our success and help widen the reach of Co-op products,” said Co-op head of new channels Martin Rogers.

“We have been trialling our franchise model since last spring, with our fourth store opening this month, and we have seen a minimum 50% uplift on sales in these stores. We now have the capability to deliver franchising at scale, offering our award-winning food in new places to attract new customers and members.”

The trail stores have all been stores owned by Costcutter, which became a master franchisee as part of its supply agreement with the Co-op last year.

Last month The Grocer revealed that Nisa retailers would be able to apply directly to become franchisees while Costcutter will have exclusivity for recruiting any other independent retailer who wishes to operate up to 10 franchised stores.