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Cash Converters UK Ltd is a retailer of pre-owned goods and provider of personal finance to the consumer market. Traditional retail, buying and selling, sits at the heart of the Cash Converters offer; we buy unwanted goods for cash, and using modern retailing practices, offer customers pre-owned bargains.
Traditional pawnbroking and buybacks services sit comfortably alongside our personal finance centres, which typically offer two financial products, cash advance and personal loans. We are a highly-recognised high street brand.
Cash Converters business is represented in 21 countries worldwide and has a network of over 700 stores.
There are 222 stores in the UK – 61 are owned and managed directly, employing approximately 500 staff; and 161 via the franchise network, employing approximately 1300 staff.
Cash Converters welcomes more than 110,000 customers through the doors of its 222 stores weekly, almost half a million monthly, with almost 6 million people across the UK benefiting annually from the various services Cash Converters provides
A 10-week induction plan prior to opening to help new franchisees develop important business skills, put them in touch with useful business contacts and provide comprehensive training in all the services CCUK has to offer.
This will take the form of in-store experience and classroom-based training, which ensures the franchisee experiences all job roles and has the opportunity to put their newly-found skills into practice prior to opening their own store.
A franchisee should be prepared to wear many hats; they will most likely have to manage all the daily operations involved in operating a Cash Converters business, including dealing with customers in the various areas of the business. It is essential to be able to organise all of your responsibilities so that everything gets done accurately and in a timely manner.
Donna Mackenzie, who along with her partner, Keith Woodford, opened her first store in August 2009, decided to invest in Cash Converters after she was made redundant from her job as a national retail account manager in November 2008.
Donna explains: "Keith has been working with Cash Converters for over twelve years, as a retail property consultant sourcing store locations and planning their layouts, so when I was made redundant it made perfect sense to explore the Cash Converters opportunity."
Donna adds: "Cash Converters has seen double figure percentage increases for the last seven years, and a noticeable acceleration in growth during the last two years. This proves that the business does well in good times and bad and that's an important consideration in these uncertain times".
David Patrick, chief executive of Cash Converters, says "Cash Converters has transformed the concept of buying and selling pre-owned goods and from a business perspective, represents a robust investment opportunity. Since its inception, the Company has grown enormously with more than 500 stores in over 21 countries worldwide."
Keith's retail property expertise culminated in the couple finding the perfect outlet for their first store, on Foregate Street in Worcester, a location which Donna explains, was chosen very carefully: "We saw the potential in the area immediately; in terms of footfall and visibility we are in an excellent position."
Donna received extensive support and encouragement from fellow franchisees, Cash Converters head office, and Regional Training Manager Chris Heath, who have all helped make the process of setting up the first store much easier.
"We underwent a period of rigorous training and have benefitted from the knowledge of those who have gone through this process before. Sharing of best practice has enabled us to avoid many potential pitfalls.
"One of my goals was to encourage more women into the store. From the beginning I worked on the shop floor, highlighting those products such as fine jewellery which are particularly of interest with this audience. The store is part of the community and this hands-on approach has really made a difference in attracting customer loyalty."
With plans for an additional store in the next few years, Donna is set to take an important role in growing the UK store count as part of the national network of Cash Converters stores.
Business Development Manager Nathan Sermon concludes: "Donna and Keith bring a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the Cash Converters team. They have implemented robust systems and procedures to support their business plan which has helped make the store a resounding success."
Marc is the franchisee of the Cash Converters store in Penge and has brought with him a wealth of experience from the world of marketing and sales promotion, having graduated from Edinburgh University in 2001 with a degree in business and marketing management. Roles in sales promotion and experiential marketing for various London agencies followed before Marc decided to pursue his dream of running his own business.
Marc comments: “I always wanted to have my own business; an investment which would be sustainable in the long-term, with multiple income streams. Cash Converters offered an exciting opportunity to use my experience in a fast-growing and robust business model.”
Marc received extensive support and encouragement from fellow franchisees, head office and the training team, who have all helped make the process of setting up his first franchise store much easier.
He adds: “There is a period of rigorous training for all new franchisees, who benefit from the knowledge of those who have gone through this process before. I spent a great deal of time with some of the most experienced franchisees in the business and the sharing of best practice has enabled me to avoid many potential pitfalls.
“It’s crucial to take the time to visit stores before making a decision. I would encourage potential franchisees to come and take a look at the business day-to-day for themselves and to carry out full due diligence.”
With plans for another store in London in the next couple of years, Marc is set to take an important role in growing the UK store count as part of the national Cash Converters network. However, he stresses the importance of getting the first store established before taking the next step.
“It’s important as a franchisee that you concentrate on maximising the profit potential and establish first-class standards of operation and customer satisfaction before you decide to open more stores,” he says.
Commenting on the future potential of his business, Marc concludes: “Cash Converters UK continues to invest in the right people to take the business forward and we offer a range of products and services which appeal to all demographics. Customer perceptions of the business are changing and this has resulted in customers coming through our doors who would never have seen us as a leading high street retailer five years ago.”
One seasoned Cash Converters franchisee, Gary Lewy, is still leading the charge. Gary, who opened his first franchise store in 1995, now has 16 stores.
Gary embarked on his career as a Cash Converters franchisee when his family business started to feel the effects of the nation’s last recession. Gary says: “I was on the lookout for a robust opportunity which could serve us well through good times and bad. Cash Converters represents an investment opportunity which is second to none. The fact that the business continues to do well despite economic uncertainty is testament to that.”
Gary’s experience in the last 17 years has shown that Cash Converters offer a range of services which prove consistently popular with customers. “Our customer base is very loyal and our staff across our portfolio of stores know many people on a first name basis. People from all walks of life visit the store and are incredibly impressed with the range of services we can offer.
“The introduction of the suite of personal finance products two years ago has resulted in an additional profit stream for the business which has given us a great platform from which to plan our long term business objectives. It has also increased the attraction of the brand to other potential franchisees, as it offers a number of possibilities that doesn’t just focus on retail.”
Cash Converters actively encourages and facilitates store visits for potential franchisees where they have the opportunity to speak with existing franchisees, and this is where Gary’s expertise has helped many avoid any major pitfalls along the way.
In fact many franchisees, like Gary, go on to operate more than one store as they reap the benefits of the framework for success which Cash Converters provides. Along with his business partners, Gary has plans to open another 10 stores in the next five years.
Gary adds: “Our staff, and the high ethical standards of operation that they adhere to, are our most valuable asset and the main reason we attract so many repeat customers. Our stores provide a modern, fresh and professional environment in which to sell unwanted goods for cash and also offer a range of other services including pawnbroking, Spread the Cost and Buybacks.”