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How has the UK franchise sector performed since the country first went into lockdown in 2020?
Alan Wilkinson writes:
One of the attractions of franchising is the resilience it shows through hard times such as a recession. Over the past 12 months or so, this has also proved to be the case for a global pandemic.
Franchisors have had to adapt and modify the way they trade and some have been hit far harder than others. Some have had to close totally or where they have been able, they’ve traded on a far more limited basis. Others have adapted their offering, with businesses such as fitness classes providing their services online instead of face to face.
We’ve seen examples of franchisors having record results in 2020, despite the pandemic. Some of the best results have been seen in outdoor franchises such as lawn care, indoor services such as loft conversion and tuition businesses, which have offered classes wholly through video conferencing.
This success has been seen not only through increased franchisee turnover, but also in the number of new franchisees being recruited.
It’s therefore been a bit of a mixed bag of great successes on the one hand and other businesses hanging on by their fingernails on the other. The one thing that’s certain is franchising will remain buoyant as the world begins to open up again.
Alan Wilkinson is head of franchise development at The Franchising Centre and has been in franchising for over 25 years.
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