Getir franchisees are selling off fridges, freezers and branded mopeds, helmets and jackets on online auction sites in an effort to recoup their losses, after the rapid grocery brand announced its retreat from the UK this week.

Franchisees told The Grocer they faced losing more than half their investment following the quick commerce company’s decision to pull out of the UK to “focus its financial resources on Turkey” where it launched in 2015. As part of the move, Getir has also withdrawn from Germany, the Netherlands and the US.

Getir began offering its dark stores to UK franchisees in 2021. According to its initial franchise prospectus, franchise holders had to invest between £140,000 and £205,000, depending on the size of the dark store, and took responsibility for employing picking staff and couriers, as well as the day-to-day running of the location. A return on franchisees’ investment was promised within two to three years, “or even sooner based on the efficiency and speed of your store”.

In late 2022, The Grocer reported three-quarters of Getir’s then 97 dark stores were franchisee run. It is understood that by the beginning of this year only 40 dark stores remained, the majority in London with a handful in Manchester and Portsmouth, all but three franchisee-run.

Franchisees were told of the company’s departure from UK shores just 24 hours before the company announced its exit on Monday morning.

Rumours of Getir’s departure had been circling in the media for several weeks. One franchisee – who operated three Getir dark stores in London – said he was following the news “like everyone else around the world” but had not had any direct communication from the company. He said he had had to let around 80 part and full-time pickers, couriers and managers go.

“It’s a very hard market, it’s very tight,” he said. “There’s too much competition now with Deliveroo and Tesco Whoosh and all the others, and the margins are minimal. If you don’t get it right that’s it. You have to be very careful but they were lacking. You have to cover your overheads – if you can’t it isn’t a viable business model.” 

In the past few days, freezers and fridges have been listed on eBay by former franchisees – some still carrying Getir and Gorillas branding – alongside branded motorbike helmets, jackets and fleeces.

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It is understood Getir’s fleet of 397 electric bikes will hit auction sites in the coming days. Getir’s master lease on dark store sites will be coming to an end later this month, by which time franchisees will have to vacate the properties.

One franchisee The Grocer spoke to said he was confident his dark stores were profitable, though franchisees were unable to find out and were never told by the company.

“Gopuff may have a better chance now the door has been left open to them,” he said. “If they can get it right they might make it a success, they’ve been a lot more cautious in launching dark stores. But it’s not as easy, especially now the big supermarkets and retailers are doing it themselves. It’s not an easy ride.”

Getir – which means ‘to bring’ in Turkish – had been one of a slew of rapid grocery providers launching locally in 2021, promising delivery within 15 minutes. Unlike aggregator apps, which partner with existing stores, the players established dedicated dark stores and courier fleets.

While the services proved popular during the Covid pandemic, the sector struggled when lockdowns lifted. Well-funded Getir responded by expanding and acquiring rivals, like Weezy in late 2021 and Gorillas in December the following year. It continued to raise cash, while burning it at a rapid rate: as much as $50m a month, according to Bloomberg.

The company said it would now focus on its core market of Turkey, where “it sees the biggest potential for long-term sustainable growth” adding that its non-home country markets generated only 7% of its revenues.

Getir’s departure leaves only two of the original tranche of rapid grocers still operational in the UK: US player Gopuff and relative minnow Zapp, which late last year undertook a major rebrand to concentrate its focus on affluent, central London customers.