Ann Summers is an iconic multinational retailer of daring, provocative lingerie and sex toys
Ann Summers is an iconic multinational retailer of daring, provocative lingerie and sex toys. Known for their liberated attitude towards sexual experimentation and satisfaction, the Ann Summers brand is synonymous with fun, fantasy and, of course, their biggest hit, the Rampant Rabbit.
Beginning life as a single-sex shop in Marble Arch, London in 1970, the company was named after the owner’s secretary (and mistress), Annice Summers. The original store was purchased by brothers David and Ralph Gold in 1971, and the shop became a formidable brand selling sex toys and lingerie on the high street.
The current CEO, Jacqueline Gold, joined the company in 1981 as an intern, and began the Ann Summers Party Plan, selling sex toys and lingerie in women’s homes. An innovative business model at the time, this business channel remains popular, with 7,500 ‘Party Organisers’ still currently operating in the UK. A massive brand revamp in 1993 saw more female-friendly merchandising (including an all-pink colour scheme) which boosted the erotic retailer’s turnover by 50 per cent, and the female empowerment theme has continued to this day.
With 106 stores in the UK and Ireland, over 40 years of industry dominance and updated distinctive black and red branding, Ann Summers is now a powerhouse brand. The company has always been proud of its part in the UK’s ‘sexual revolution’ and continues to challenge the sex industry with constant boundary pushing and innovation while providing safe and high-quality sex paraphernalia.
Operating stores throughout the UK, the Ann Summers high street presence consists of a mixture of in-house owned and franchised retail sites. Ann Summers franchisees operate their own store in a location mutually chosen for its footfall potential and are provided with the proven Ann Summers business model and branding, along with sales and operational support to launch and successfully run their store. Ann Summers head office in Surrey manages all the retail operations, though franchise owners are expected to manage their store, recruit staff and maintain the brand’s promise to be a trusted authority in the sex industry.
The minimum investment required to open an Ann Summers franchise is around £200,000. While Ann Summers require franchise applicants to have ‘sufficient working capital’ to open their own store, the exact financial details are not disclosed until the franchisee’s application has been approved by head office.
Ann Summers Head Office don’t disclose the start-up fees for opening a new store until the applicant has had their paperwork reviewed and approved by the franchising team. The Ann Summers franchise fee would usually be a part of the £200,000 minimum investment.
Once an applicant has been approved for an Ann Summers franchise, they will be invited to take part in a full month of training prior to the launch of their new store. This comprehensive training programme covers everything the new franchisee needs to know before the store’s doors open and covers operational aspects of the store including merchandising, admin and IT, along with advice on sales and marketing, and staff recruitment and management.
Ann Summers franchisees benefit from the brand’s 40 years of experience being passed down to them through the established business model which is fully shared and explained during this 30-day training period. This initial training provides the opportunity to listen, learn and ask any and every question to do with the products, business and team. Once this training has been completed, the new store owner should feel completely confident that they know everything required to successfully open and operate their new Ann Summers retail site.
Yes. The Ann Summers team are looking for applicants with retail experience and proven managerial skills to open new stores, as directing a team and running a busy high street retail site are part of the day-to-day job. Other essential qualities for a potential Ann Summers franchise owner include having plenty of energy, a customer-centric focus and lots of ambition, while a liberal mind and mature attitude are also important attributes.
The Ann Summers partnership team will regularly stay in touch with the franchisee once their new store has opened – the launch is just the beginning. Along with plenty of useful information on new product ranges and changing in-store promotions, Ann Summers franchise owners are also kept up to date with industry news and research conducted by Head Office to make sure they are perfectly placed to maximise their store’s market position.
It should be. Ann Summers stores tend to be busy, high footfall retail spaces requiring careful management and plenty of owner input. Ann Summers franchise applicants should be prepared to focus fully on the setup, launch and running of their new store, which requires time and energy.
Yes, and the adverts often get plenty of attention for the controversy they cause! Big and bold advertising campaigns have attracted legal attention and bans for being inappropriate or offensive, all of which brings more publicity to the Ann Summers brand and increased footfall in Ann Summers franchises! National adverts include TV, radio and poster campaigns.
There are various UK and international territories that don’t currently have a retail store in place – contact the Ann Summers partnerships team for up to date details.
As Ann Summers is always quick to point out, as long as people are having sex there will always be a need for its products. Ann Summers franchises benefit from being part of a long-lasting and trusted brand with a strong identity, making the stores instantly recognisable on the high street.
Ann Summers has worked hard to keep its products and image fresh and relevant while expanding its customer base. Constantly innovating by introducing and adding to the range, over the past few years Ann Summers have introduced swimwear and workout gear with a sexy edge in a bid to target younger shoppers. They also purchased and relaunched the Knickerbox brand in 2000, offering more comfortable and feminine lingerie with a more ‘boutique’ feel to extend the range.
Committed to selling premium quality products in a fun and relaxed high street environment, an Ann Summers store is a widely recognised franchise opportunity and part of a forward-thinking, industry-dominating brand.
The next step in applying for an Ann Summers franchise opportunity is to receive further information from the partnerships team, before completing an application. Once your application has been reviewed and approved, you will receive much more detailed financial and operational information about opening your own store, before moving forward to sign a franchise agreement.
If you would like to take the first step toward opening your own Ann Summers franchise, please fill in the form on this page to request more information.
New articles added every week
Hand picked franchise opportunities just for you
First class help and advice for franchising and business
We have the industries best contributors on board
Inspiring and insightful franchise case studies