Membership History

Full Member
Joined 2007
Active Board Member

Membership History

Full Member
Joined 2007
Active Board Member
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Company Overview

Retailer Complete Entertainment eXchange, CeX, takes the buy and sell concept and updates it by specialising in trading digital entertainment products. CeX buy, sell and exchange mobile phones, games, electronics, computers, DVDs and other entertainment technology directly from the public. Since 1992 we have expanded from the UK across four continents, now operating in 10 countries including Australia, Ireland, India, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and UK. As of 2020, there are more than 600 CeX stores Worldwide. A best in class website at Webuy.com supports stores with live pricing, stock levels and drives additional revenue as e commerce sales fulfilled from CeX stores.

Franchise Overview

CeX opened their first store just off Tottenham Court Road, London’s electronics and computer heartland, in 1992. Now CeX reaches around the globe with operations in 11 countries across four continents. Franchising started in 2004 and CeX opened the 100th UK franchised store in late 2012. In 2019, CeX officially opened its 600th store worldwide.

Training

We provide a comprehensive 12-week (minimum) intensive store-based training programme, mostly: practical onsite experience that covers all aspects of retail and sales principles; technical and bespoke point of sale systems and operational procedures; supervisor and store management competencies; and general franchise and business ownership principles.

You will gain valuable experience across both corporate and franchised stores to ensure that you are fully confident and competent in running a CeX store.

Daily Life of a franchisee

A CeX franchisee role is a varied one. You will be responsible for all aspects of the running of your store, backed up with support from CeX. One key responsibility is motivating your team of staff. You will also be in full control of building relationships with customers, as well as growing your business with advice from CeX Support Centre experts.

Zahida Patel

What attracted you to franchising?
I have experience of running my own business, previously managing a small chain of city centre newsagents. My existing business experience meant I could appreciate and understand the challenges of opening and developing a new franchised retail business.

The prospect of a franchised business offered several major advantages for me. It enabled me to set-up a larger business, potentially more profitable, far quicker than I could if I tried to do it on my own. The established identity of a brand such as CeX’s on many UK high streets, means that I would have an instant customer base and it would grow much faster than if I was trying doing it on my own.

Some excellent internal processes and operating systems provided by the franchisor further complement working in a fast-paced retail environment within a brand such as CeX. For example, they have their own bespoke EPOS system; this ensures that the decision-making is process driven, enabling me and my team to concentrate on looking after our customers.

In addition, I have had the additional confidence of a support network that would help me to prepare me to run my own retail store, and help me to avoid the some of the obvious mistakes that the franchisor had already learned. In addition, with operational management support, i have been able to maintain key business standards and bench-mark my business performance continually against others.

What’s it like running your own business?
I enjoy the independence of being my own boss, I can set my own goals and enjoy the success of getting things right! However, it can be very demanding at times, which I fully expected. Working in retailing involves long hours and is not for everyone.

CeX expect the franchisee to be actively involved in their business on a day-to-day basis, which is a good thing. With the sort of investment required, this is a major commitment and I would not feel confident trusting this to others.

Has being a woman presented any particular challenges in running your own business?
No, not really, but I’m lucky I think because of my family background – and working with my brothers who each have their own businesses has been a great help.

Perhaps the greatest challenge I would say for women is to appreciate and understand the time commitment that is involved. Long, often unsociable hours aren’t for everyone, and it is not easy if you are trying to run a business and also cope with the demands that many women face with supporting a family.

Some customers initially treat me differently because I’m a woman. I overcome this by understanding my business and the products within it and, I believe, by being confident in my own abilities.

What influenced you to run your own business?
My family has a wide range of experience in retailing and I saw that working within a well-established brand with a proven business model had its attractions for me.

Everyone considering starting their own business probably has followed their own path to reach that point, and has their own ambitions that they wish to realise. Certainly for myself, this was quite important.

What sort of challenges have you faced?
Lots of them! Apart from the obvious ones, such as raising the necessary finance and training. Probably the biggest challenge has been dealing with the demands such a large business places on you. My business is forecast to turnover in excess of £1 million in its first year, this can only be achieved with a good team of staff.

Learning to work with a large team of staff, currently I have 12 full- and part-time employees; this is one of the biggest, and probably the most rewarding, challenges I face. I consider myself lucky that I’ve recruited a fantastic team of staff that I am very proud of. They’re a great team of people and they make the business work and provide great customer service, which is the key to the success of the business.

What are your ambitions?
I’m hoping to open an additional CeX store in another town locally. I’ve been carefully planning and considering the requirements for a second business for some time now.

CeX, the franchisor, have their own criteria that they wish franchisees to follow, which is all pretty much common sense, working mainly around contingency and succession planning.

What advice would you give a woman setting up a franchise business?
Understand what you are doing and what your long-term commitments are likely to be. Make sure you have a detailed business plan put together and take advice from the various professional organisations that work in franchising.

If you have not considered it before, look at the British Franchise Association who can provide you with some excellent advice and introduce you to various affiliated organisations that can give you further specialist advice as and when required.

Trevor Finlay and Stuart Dixon

Is this your first CeX?
We already have two CeX stores in Northern Ireland. We’ve been CeX franchisees for nearly five years now and we have steadily grown the businesses.

Why did you choose franchising?
Trevor: Having been involved and worked in several businesses over the years, I understand just how difficult it is to run a profitable business.

Stuart: I used to work for CeX as a store manager, so I understood how the business worked and had always wanted to work for myself. Being able to become a franchisee within the business I have grown up in has been a great opportunity for me.

What did you do before taking up a franchise?
Trevor: I have experience running retail businesses and could see the benefit of the structure CeX have within their business model. This appealed to me.

Stuart: I used to work for CeX as a store manager, so I understood how the business worked and wanted to work for myself.

How did you raise the finance?
We’ve raised bank finance by careful business planning. Initially, our existing savings were supported by our bank, who fortunately over the years have been very supportive. CeX have helped by working with the major banks and ensuring they understand how our brand works.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
Despite being well established, we have ongoing operational support from our local operations manager which is invaluable in ensuring that our businesses continue to develop and grow. In retailing every day brings new challenges and we could not do things as successfully on our own.

What challenges have you faced?
Many, the changing economic situation here in Northern Ireland for a start. The impact of the decline in cross border trade from the Irish Republic has had a detrimental effect on many retailers in recent times. However, regardless of the uncertainty, CeXÓs model continues to grow successfully grow and they are now growing in Ireland too, which can only help things further in future.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
Yes, It’s given us both a degree of independence running a business we love.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of buying his or her first franchise?
Understand what you are planning to do, talk it through with friends and respected business people who can give you some impartial advice. Talk to some of the existing franchisees and consider whether you may fit in.

What are your plans for the future?
To open another CeX store when we are in the position to do so!

Would you do it again?
Yes, we love the business and have confidence in it.

Safwan Adam

What did you do before taking a CeX franchise?
I was a fresh graduate out of uni. I studied aeronautical engineering, graduated and then launched a printing company which I sold. I wanted to go bigger and better so I chose CeX to start my business career.

How did you go about your research process?
I wanted to try out a business so met up with a few different people and franchises. It came down to choosing which franchise would give the most support and who had the best structure. I assessed different franchises on different merits such as how much support you get because that is essentially what I'm paying for. Although you are paying for the brand, you're also paying for the support structure. You’re paying for all the people that come behind the name. CeX had the strongest infrastructure and I saw that. I researched many franchises and looked at their performance to date.

What in particular attracted you to a CeX franchise?
It was the level of training, structure and the support. You constantly have teams of people to go to, to ask questions. You're not alone with a CeX franchise. It’s a franchise with a future.

What training and support do you receive from CeX?
The training and support I received from CeX was very comprehensive. You get area managers, franchise managers, the commercial team. They give you updated pricing so you’re continuously competitive. You’ve always got someone there. I can call any time of the day and they’ll be more than happy to advise me. It’s so accessible throughout the company and transparent - it makes life much easier.

When did you start your franchise?
I started this CeX franchise 6 months ago. Prior to that I obviously did the training. I started looking into a CeX franchise about a year ago.

What challenges have you faced so far with your CeX franchise?
I don’t know if you can call them challenges. Any kind of challenge that we have faced has been with the support of CeX and we have overcome it. If there have been any, my franchise manager or area manager have taken care of it. They’ve left me to running my business which is what you want! CeX takes care of your pricing, your stock structure, making sure you’ve got the best stock that your store possibly could have. All you’re doing is interacting with customers, managing your staff and taking care of things that are the most important.

How has becoming a CeX Franchisee impacted your life outside the business sphere?
I have more free time and a better balance between work and personal life. It’s helped me organise my life better. When I trained at CeX, it was relaxed and never felt like robotic retail. It felt much easier and fun and that’s what you want! You want something you enjoy and that you want to come back to. Doing it again and again. That’s what CeX is all about. It’s made me enjoy life a bit more.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start a CeX franchise?
The advice I'd give is to go ahead and do it! There's no other franchise out there which will give you the same amount of support structure as CeX. CeX is the best franchise out there, always adapting towards the market. They’re constantly working on it 24/7 so you can’t lose out. It’s an evolving business and as long as you’re moving with the market you’re not going to get lost - don’t think about it, just do it!

Would you recommend a CeX franchise?
I’m planning – within my first 6 months – to open a 2nd CeX store or take over one, so I would definitely recommend it! I wouldn’t think about it twice!

What are your future goals?
To be a multiple CeX store owner and to manage a few stores, just enjoy CeX and evolve with the business.

Raf Ali

Why did you choose franchising?
I run a number of existing mobile phone franchises in the north east and CeX seemed a logical ‘fit’ with my existing businesses.

What did you do before taking up a franchise?
I was a computer programmer for a large retail bank until becoming involved in franchising for the first time in 2006, opening my first O2 franchise.

How did you raise the finance?
Part equity from my house and also some bank finance assistance.

What training and support did you receive, initially and ongoing?
I was lucky to be part of a new CeX franchise store opening. I rolled up my sleeves and got involved in every aspect of the business, which I found invaluable.

To open my first store I had a detailed support team, including an inspirational franchise manger and ongoing in-house support once my business was open, helping it to become quickly established.

What challenges have you faced?
The biggest challenge initially 4 years ago was brand awareness. People didn’t know us, having now opened my third store in the north east, it’s great because customers already know us.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
Yes, I work harder than ever! But the benefit is that I am in control of my own destiny. It has been very rewarding to see my businesses grow and the development of my employees and their own career progression.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of buying their first franchise?
Understand what it takes to run your own business, and the demands it will place on you, your friends and family. Do your research, understand the franchise you are interested in and talk to their franchisees.

What are your plans for the future?
To drive a Porsche 911 and businesses to run themselves successfully!

Would you do it again?
Yes, I get a buzz out of being involved in successful franchise brands.

Lewis Broughton

How do you feel?
I’m really pleased to be finally trading here at Burton-on-Trent. It’s taken quite a lot of planning to get to this stage, but the store looks great and we have plenty of customers in store!

What’s your background?
I used to work for a CeX and worked for several years in one of their local stores. I then became a franchisee just over two years ago with my business partner opening our first store together in Chesterfield. We’ve now grown the business successfully to enable us to open our second franchise store, here in Burton, which I’m running.

Have you found the ongoing support from CeX? Have they supported you?
We have the benefit of using a ‘live’ retail EPOS system, this enables us to run the store in an efficient manner, ensuring we can make the best decisions and provide good customer service on a day-to-day basis. They have specialist personnel that keep us continually updated with changing information, which is important with the technical nature of many of the products we deal with.

In addition, for example, we have operations support from a management team that helps to keep us running well!

Has your CeX franchise met your expectations?
Yes, I understood the business and how it worked, so there have been no surprises. We’ve grown the business having got off to a flying start and have been planning for our second store for some time now.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Working in a retail business is hard work with long hours. You need to understand this and be capable of managing a team of staff and be good at dealing with people. You need to be prepared to spend long hours in the shop on a daily basis, you cannot afford to be away for long, although as the business grows you begin to develop key members of staff to assume some of the management responsibilities for you.

Has your store hit its sales target in year 1? How did you feel?
Our first store turned over just over £950k in year 1 and has grown since. With CeX’s business model we feel confident that we can maintain our profitability of the business on an ongoing basis.

What is your favourite part of being a CEX franchisee?
Apart from the independence that running your own business gives you, I’ve made some really good friends in the business over the last few years. The company feels like a big family, and people go out of their way to help you. They also like to socialise as well!

Would you recommend a CeX franchise to others? If so what sort of people do you think would be suited to their franchise?
CeX is a great brand to be a part of. Do as much research as possible, and be honest with yourself, is this really the right thing for you? Understand that it will take alot of your time. I suppose people with a retail background and have experience of working with customers is a good start. Some of the other franchisees have backgrounds having previously run convenience stores, petrol stations and mobile phone stores. The main thing is that you are a people person and enjoy dealing the public.

What are your future plans for your business?
Develop our new second business here at Burton and build a good local customer base. Going forward, we’re already thinking about store number three, although that won’t be for a while yet.

Gareth Thompson

Why did you choose franchising?
I worked for a CeX franchise store, and I could see the potential returns from the investment. I had seen new stores open week after week and decided that I wanted to own part of a new successful brand. It was clear that CeX was going to be the next big thing. I felt I could make it work for me so talked to my family and we made the decision together.

What did you do before taking up the franchise?
I obtained a degree in history, while studying I worked in several retail environments and even worked as a tiler for a while.

How did you raise the finance?
I raised the working capital through my family then raised the rest through bank loans.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
My training was done in the Huddersfield and Barnsley stores. I worked with experienced storeowners and managers, building my knowledge of the systems and also the best practices to enable me to maximise my potential.

What challenges have you faced?
I had issues understanding certain aspects of human resource management, which took me a while to understand. CeX gave me some initial training and was there to advise on best practice, bring in third parties where needed. I now have the experience to face these issues and get the most out of my staff while protecting myself.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life?
I have a few more grey hairs, it's been hard work and it has impacted every aspect of my life; but it has been totally worth it!

What advice would you give to someone thinking of buying their first franchise?
Be realistic and do as much research as you can, learn from the experiences they have had. This will enable you to prepare yourself for the challenges and give you the best possible start.

What are your plans for the future?
Take a holiday touring the States. I am also already looking at sites for a second store so I can expand to own a group of stores.

Would you do it again?
I would, I wish I done this sooner as it’s so good to be in control of your own future.

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CeX reaches the 100 club, grows global reach
30 January 2013

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