Retail franchising: challenges and the future

Earlier this year, Legend Exhibitions ran the hugely successful International Retail Franchise Summit (IRFS), which attracted key retail executives, generated massive interest and demand for more. Buoyed with success and the testimonials ringing in our ears, we set out to understand how we can further support the retail industry for those retailers growing through an international franchise model. And what better way to consider the challenge than over a nice lunch!

With the expert advice and guidance of Gail Anscomb, The White Company; Lucy Haine, Debenhams; Cheryl Clifford, Hobbs; Rosie Stringer, Phase 8; Richard Aquilina, Blue Inc; Sarah Pavlou, Kyclo; and Neil Wynn Jones, UKTI, we hoped the format and content for the next invaluable IRFS event would emerge to address an all-important new chapter in the world of global franchising.

So with our gathered expertise we explored just the key issues and challenges facing the modern franchisor:

The world is an evermore complex place and retailing is at the coalface of disruptive technology versus bricks and mortar. Add to that the need to find partnerships across cultures, long distance and contrary legal systems and it quickly becomes clear how difficult the agreement and operation of a successful franchise can be.

The pressure that multichannel retailing is placing on existing franchise agreements means that contracts can no longer consider eCommerce as a bit part in the revenue streams. Click & collect, showrooming and multinational websites have made this hugely complex for both parties in any franchise partnership. The contracts of tomorrow need to be carefully considered, particularly with the speed that technology is developing and the changing demands of global consumers.

There are various routes that partnerships can go down, all with valid reasoning. With contracts typically lasting 5-10 years and technology moving at such a pace, get it wrong and it could have a fundamental impact on your trading in the region.

More retailers than ever recognise that franchising provides the opportunity to build a brand with significant international impact at a reduced risk and investment allowing for opportune future growth. It is a quality and speedy solution for integrating your brand with new markets and consumers, the key question is how do you find the right business relationship, what should the deal look like and where are the pitfalls?

Perhaps before the issue of contracts and marketing plans, the strategic question is to be clear what the end game looks like. What are your motivations for franchising, what future expectations do you have and where are you looking to be ten years from now?

Once you have successfully navigated these hurdles, the operational challenges such as supply chain to new regions, visual merchandising to new audiences, international and localised marketing strategy, social media and pricing strategy will all be questions that will become fundamental if the partnership is to succeed.

With only a day to cover all of these crucial topics, this conference is sure to be packed with insight and information so if you are considering the franchise route for your brand or have a franchise estate and would like to review your franchise strategy, then you have to be there!

Join us at the International Retail Franchising Summit on 9th March 2016 at London Olympia to hear key speakers that are a new and provide a fresh approach to overcoming the challenges of growing a franchise business overseas.

For more details, please contact David Webster or visit