Franchises hitting sales upturn

There are signs of life in the retail print market with franchise bosses saying sales are growing for the first time in three years.

Snap and Kwik Kopy, which have more than 200 stores between them in Australia, are both reporting an upturn in sales.

Kwik Kopy chief executive David Bell says sales across the group are up one per cent in 2015, arresting a consistent slide in revenue over the past few years.

“I am surprised how resilient the market has been this year, things are stabilising and we are starting to see growth again,” he says.

“Franchisees are more optimistic about their future now than they have been at any point in the past three years. There is light at the end of the tunnel.”

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Bell also attributes the improved performance to the franchise’s efforts to improve its processes and sales techniques that are now paying off.

“We have been working with franchisees to quote better and improve the rate of quote conversion, and are making better use of analytics and new software and process,” he says.

Snap chief executive Stephen Edwards says profit is up four per cent on last year and the chain has added six new stores proving the industry is still attractive.

He says expanded non-print services, its new IT system rollout, improved processes and a reviving retail print market are all contributors.

“Short run on-demand digital print is booming and we are able to get better margins because it is a convenience product and we have improved our sales and marketing process to be more competitive,” he says.

“While there is a lot less margin for error than there used to be, there is more optimism around this year and franchisees feel there is a lot of opportunity if they are a good operator.”

Edwards says Snap will unveil a greeting card portal and enter the mobile phone app market in the next three months following its major rebrand earlier this year.

“We want to be a big supplier of apps, of any kind. There is no number one app supplier in Australia so it might as well be us,” he says.

Snap began a major rebrand in March that positioned it as an end-to-end supplier of small business marketing needs from print to websites, design and digital services.

It also in May announced a new $10m MIS system using EFI PrintSmith Vision including a cloud-based web-to-print setup.

Edwards says the lengthy rollouts on these two projects have another 16 months to run but are progressing well and the benefits are already being seen on the ground.

Snap also last week at its annual general meeting appointed Peter Russell as its new chairman to replace the retiring Alan Hood. Russell does not have a print background.

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