Now in its thirteenth year, Ableworld, the mobility and home care retail franchise, has continued its consistent growth trajectory with yet another year of increased sales, increased stores and increased profits.
“We have seen our turnover rise every year since we opened in 2001,” says managing director, Mike Williams, “and now we are experiencing growth in profitability as well, with profits up for the fourth year in a row.”
Sales for the year ending 31st January were nearly 13% up on the previous year (6% like-for-like). At a time when you can barely pick up a paper or see the news without hearing about yet another high street retail horror story, it shows that companies can buck the trend – if the business model is right.
Paul Boniface, franchise director, says this year is already mirroring the success of last: “All our franchise partners improved their performance last year and have started well this year with increases in sales of 32% on average.
“The business model is vital to the success of a franchise and following it requires discipline and commitment on behalf of the franchisees. Luckily our model, whilst effective, is not so complicated and one of my banking connections described our business as ‘an honest and straightforward business proposition’, which is one reason why the banks are willing to support potential franchise partners with funding.”
Having begun life trading from a single store in the north west, Ableworld now boasts 17 retail outlets and more are on the way. “Having a growing franchise network means that we can, and increasingly will, open a store anywhere on the mainland of Britain,” Mike says. “In addition to that we will be looking at bringing more ‘own brand’ products into our range and generally striving to expand our range as new, innovative or better products become available.”
The stairlift side of the business continues to grow and Ableworld, along with a handful of other retailers, was invited by Handicare to trial a new exclusive stairlift which will be launched later in the year.