Health, beauty and hospitality brands are bucking the trend
News stories and headlines about retail businesses on the British high street are very rarely positive. In the last 12 months alone we’ve lost big name brands like Jessops, witnessed the closure of hundreds of department stores and seen the collapse of the long-awaited Sainsbury’s and Asda merger.
In spite of this downturn, the health and beauty sector continues to thrive.
According to results from the latest GB retail and leisure market analysis, of the top 10 growing high street categories listed six were occupied by companies operating in the health and beauty sector. And with many of these businesses operating from a high street, shopping centre or other central locations, these retailers are truly bucking the trend.
Investing in looking and feeling your best
Rory Keaveny, 33, franchise owner of Thérapie Clinic in the Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent, attributes the continued growth of the beauty sector to a structural shift in the way the public allocate their disposable income.
“People are more willing than ever to invest their hard-earned cash into their own well-being - and looking and feeling your best is a big part of that,” Rory says.
“Cosmetic procedures are no longer deemed a luxury just for the affluent or wealthy. Long gone are the days when a cosmetic procedure involved a costly trip to Harley Street.
“In 2020, professional, qualified cosmetic and medical aesthetic clinicians can be found much closer to home and are very much in demand. The numbers speak for themselves - in 2018 the health and beauty industry contributed £28.4bn to the UK economy.”
There’s also a lot to be said for offering clients an impeccable standard of customer service, according to Rory.
“The beauty industry is attractive because it’s mostly about the client’s experience and encouraging repeat custom,” he adds. “This is a standard I’m very committed to delivering, as are the rest of my team.
“I’m also fortunate to be part of one of the most well-respected brands in the UK and Ireland, backed by an extremely experienced franchisor. So despite only launching the business in January, we’re already inundated with clients. This was definitely the right time to launch my franchise.”
The UK has a passion for fitness
Haydn Elliot and Tristan Smith, both 27, can vouch for the increased demand in health and fitness services across the UK. Just 18 months after launching their first F45 Training franchise in London’s Oxford Circus, the young franchisees opened their second location in the capital - this time in Soho.
Haydn says: “The UK population is becoming far more health-conscious and that’s not going to slow down.
“Nowadays, consumer behaviour is driven towards feeling good seven days a week. Investing in your mental and physical health is the foundation and the most accessible way to achieve that is through exercise and nurturing oneself holistically in a group environment. This service isn’t something that can be bought online.”
Despite the illustrious postcodes of Haydn and Tristan’s London locations, they keep overheads low by operating out of smaller premises and are proactive when it comes to marketing.
Their franchisor helped them find suitable premises for their franchises, which is fundamental when setting up any sort of retail or location-based business.
Tristan says: “We’ve been able to capitalise on our convenient location and open a second franchise very quickly. Our plan is to continue with this rate of growth and take advantage of the UK’s passion for fitness. Who knows where we might be in another couple of years.”
Sweet aroma never fails to attract customers
But it isn’t just franchised health and fitness brands bucking the trend on the Great British high street.
US doughnut chain Duck Donuts has established a business model that allows its franchisees to keep overheads low and profits high.
Marcel Portmann, director of global business development, says: “After consumers have worked up a sweat in the gym, they’re going to want to reward themselves with a sweet treat.
“We’re interested in launching our franchise model in the UK, maximising on the fact that restaurants and bars continue to perform well. Duck Donuts has invested heavily in real estate and customer analytics, so we’re able to work closely with a franchisee in determining areas that best fit our customer demographic and a specific market’s needs.
“Cost is always a challenge because being in the ideal location often comes with higher rent. To overcome this, our team has adapted our model to fit in locations with a smaller square footage, reducing start-up costs for franchisees. Our other USP is the sweet aroma of vanilla cake doughnuts coming from our doughnut fryers, which never fails to get customers through our doors.”
It would seem that despite recent reports of the demise of the British high street, certain services, such as health, beauty and hospitality, continue to thrive. In fact, this is the time to invest in what is proving to be a lucrative market.
Discover these retail brands at the International Franchise Show, which will be hosting over 200 franchise opportunities at ExCeL London.