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Conviviality Retail signs franchise deal for GT stores to push its c-store off-licence model

Published:  26 February, 2015

Conviviality Retail has signed a 10-year franchise agreement with award winning East Anglian-based convenience retailer, Jonathan James to run 35 franchise stores. 

James, who is operations director of Ely-based James Graven & Sons and former chairman of the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), will initially run 36 stores that were acquired by Conviviality from GT News earlier this month. The outlets are based across Yorkshire and the North Midlands, but James is looking to expand the franchise operation to 100 stores.

He said Conviviality was championing local off-licence led convenience on the high stree and he was committed to developing incentives to attract the best retailers. "It's this unique strategy which makes it stand out from the crowd, attract loyal customers and most importantly, make franchisees more money. It was important for me to join a collaborative brand that works in partnership with their franchisees."

Jonathan JamesJonathan James

"Our priority is to drive profit for our franchisees by providing outstanding central support, performance related shares and over-rider schemes," he said.

Conviviality Retail's new concept has an 800-strong range - including 400 wines, starting at £3.99 and offering a wide range of discounts.

Amanda Jones, chief operating officer at Conviviality Retail, said James was a highly skilled operator and had an impressive track record in the independent and convenience sector.

The move comes as part of Conviviality's ambitious growth plans. In February it announced it would be opening 20 new stores, broadening its core Northern base and targeting expansion in the South West. It is also trialling an exclusive franchise trial with Scottish Midland Co-operative Society Group (Scotmid) which sees Bargain Booze north of the border for the first time, and last year it acquired 31 Rhythm and Booze stores from Bibby Retail Services.

Half year profits announced in January say the company profits surge 46% to £3.2 million in 26 weeks to October 26, 2014, with wine now accounting for 14.6% of the group's sales, up 12% from 2013.