A co-operative franchise team has been highly commended at the 2022 Retail Industry Awards after competing against some of the best convenience retailers in the country.
The Welcome brand, which is part of Southern Co-op and operates out of Portsmouth, was the only company Highly Commended for Symbol/Franchise Group of the Year.
The sold out event on Tuesday 20 September celebrated the best retailers across the UK as the industry’s greatest gathered to celebrate and reward the winners at The Brewery on Chiswell Street, London.
The Retail Industry Awards judges were hand-picked for their experience, knowledge and expertise including experts from The Federation of Independent Retailers, ACS – Association of Convenience Stores and IGD.
Mike Fitton, Franchise Business Manager for Southern Co-op, said: “We now have more than 60 franchise stores from Devon to Kent and above so we have grown a lot in the past three years but we have also ensured that we still offer our partners the personal support that they value.
“All of my team work incredibly hard so it is extremely rewarding for their efforts to be rewarded with this national recognition. Our success is also down to our franchisees who echo our co-operative values in their own stores – through local suppliers, community support, ethical products and sustainable practices.”
The Southern Co-op franchise was shortlisted alongside big names including Centra, Londis, Nisa, One Stop, Spar, SuperValu, and the winners Premier.
The Welcome store in Brockenhurst was also recognised at the 2022 Retail Industry Awards for Most Sustainable Retailer Initiative of the Year and the 2022 Convenience Awards as Sustainability Retailer of the Year.
In the last year, the Welcome franchise team increased the number of its field managers and now trades across 14 counties.
As well as an increase in support, in 2021 Welcome saw 27% increase in sales.
Southern Co-op’s Welcome franchise gives retailers access to big brands with ethical values combined with expert guidance. Franchisees can choose to implement recommended store formats based on consumer insights or adapt plans using their own entrepreneurial flair. Franchisees are also encouraged to source products from local suppliers.
Other support available includes marketing, planograms, store development, space and sales analysis, a full EPOS and back office system, electronic shelf edge labels, dedicated support from an operations manager, and access to a support desk from 6am-8pm, seven days a week.
To find out more about Southern Co-op’s franchise opportunities, visit https://southern.coop/what-we-do/welcome.