UK franchise businesses report best performance since 2008

bfa survey suggests record highs for turnover and employment in the franchise sector

Franchise businesses across the UK are operating at their best since the country entered the recession in 2008, according to new research conducted by the British Franchise Association (bfa) and NatWest in its 2013 Franchise Survey.

The report, which assessed the franchise sector from 2008 to 2013, found 20% growth in the franchise industry in comparison to 2.5% increase in the overall economy during the same period, and calculated that the sector has contributed approximately £13.7bn to the economy in the last 12 months.

The survey purported an all-time high for franchise employment with over 250,000 jobs created, a first for the history of UK franchising with a 20% increase over the past five years.

Turnover for franchise brands across England and Wales was also found to be at its highest since 2008 with Wales reporting a record 33% increase, the north west growing by 27%, the north east by 14%, and the south east by an impressive 42%.

Overseas franchise growth opportunities were also recognised in the report with 9 out of 10 franchisors reporting optimism for trading conditions over the coming year.

Growth was evident at the franchisee level too, with 92 per cent reporting profitability and 80% of new franchisees that had started in the last two years already turning a profit.

The findings present confidence for the franchise industry, as Brian Smart, director general of the bfa, suggested:

“The exceptional performance of the franchise sector since 2008 augurs well as the UK returns to business growth and prosperity. There are now nearly 1,000 franchise brands operating in this country across multiple business sectors, offering plentiful opportunities for those undertaking the necessary research and due diligence to join the franchise success story.”

Head of franchising at NatWest, Graeme Jones, continued:  “Franchising in the UK continues to deliver real benefits for the economy and the growth achieved over the past five years is a standout achievement.”

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