Vodafone plans to expand its retail presence with the opening of 24 new high street stores in premises that were previously vacant.
The Newbury-based operator is expanding its franchise programme, inviting local entrepreneurs to manage stores with no up-front costs involved. Franchisees will be provided with devices to sell and will earn commission on sales.
More than a third of Vodafone’s existing 400 stores are franchises, with 50 added this year alone. The first two stores to open through this expansion are in Morecambe, Lancashire, and St Austell, Cornwall.
The expansion has two aims. The first is to strengthen Vodafone’s multi-channel approach by allowing customers who want in-person advice on a new contract or device to visit a physical location.
Although customers are able to research products and gain support online, Vodafone stores still attract 20 million visits a year and account for 70 per cent of pay-monthly sales.
The second aim is to “bring life” to high streets across the UK following a wave of closures.
“As a business with its roots in the UK, we are keen to do what we can to help local communities, whether that is giving local entrepreneurs the opportunity to be their own boss of a retail store or extending our network to remote areas,” said Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffrey.
“New services have helped us become the fastest growing home broadband provider this year and attract thousands of new mobile customers every week. With this momentum, we are looking to extend our high street presence so that we can provide face-to-face advice and support to even more customers.”