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The challenge with being part of a franchise or a national branded business

I was in a regional town New Zealand over the weekend for a wedding and went to a local Paper Plus store to buy a wedding card. I didn’t like any of the wedding card designs they had, the range felt tired, like the shop.

It was my first time in a Paper Plus for five years and as such it’s what I’ll think of as the standard for Paper Plus until I see something different.

The shop fixtures were old school – traditional gondolas, high with products stacked. There was no flair or enticement to the retail displays, nothing to draw me into the shop. The light was bright fluro, which is now out of date for interesting local retail. There was no sense of being local.

Franchise businesses and businesses that trade under a common shingle are as strong as their weakest store.

This is one of the reason newsXpress years ago ditched requiring businesses to trade under the newsXpress shingle. It is also why the group restructured its contract and its offer to not fall under the franchise code of conduct.

Local retailers need the freedom to flourish is ways appropriate to their local setting. In a franchise this is challenging to do since the franchise approach is about a cookie-cutter approach, based on what some call a ‘system’. I can’t think of any ‘system’ or franchise model that is appropriate in the newsagency channel today. That’s my opinion at least, others will have theirs.

Our channel is going through rapid change, much of which is outside the lines of what has been traditional for newsagency businesses. What drew people to our businesses even five years ago has changed in 2024. Change is good as it opens opportunities.

So much of the growth I am seeing in newsagency businesses that are growing is outside of traditional and this is where a ‘system’ or a franchise model created decades ago will struggle to be relevant. Retail in 2024 is not relevant to what we did in 2000, 1990 or 1980. How, when and where people shop has changed. What people will buy from what was once a traditional newsagency has changed.

Local newsagents need the freed to be what they can be. This is why I moved from a franchise model years ago.

Back in the day, Paper Plus was a terrific business a model for consistency and growth. If what I saw on Saturday is any indication, it has some distance to go to be relevant to 2024 – if not the group then certainly the shop I visited.

I love owning and running my newsagency businesses today, for traditional products but more so for the opportunity to play outside the lines of tradition.

Newsagency management

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