Eason – Ireland’s franchise success story

The Eason brand is strong and instantly recognisable throughout Ireland. The company has been in business since 1886 and is synonymous with stores stocking a wide range of newspapers, magazines, books, cards and stationery.

Eason is a customer-orientated company that believes in caring for its customers by providing friendly, reliable and knowledgeable service. Eason believes that the reputation and success of Eason, combined with the hard work and expertise of our franchise owners, will be an unbeatable combination in running a successful and profitable business. Eason’s aim is to focus on the needs of its franchise owners by providing them with a comprehensive management system to market, stock, an sell newspapers, magazines, books, cards and stationery under the Eason name.

Store design /new concepts

Eason invests heavily in the brand with a generous annual budget spread across all major national television, press and radio channels – reaching some 85 per cent of all adults for its major Back to School and Christmas campaigns.

Eason plays an active role in the promotion of reading in Ireland. The company is a partner in the annual Irish Book Awards and is currently sponsoring a nationwide spelling competition in association with the Ryan Tubridy show.

The company’s website, Easons.com, continues to develop and attract more and more visitors from home and abroad. The Eason Facebook Bookclub and Twitter site, as well as encouraging debate, keeps people up-to-date with forthcoming events, books launches and competitions.

Current developments

Despite the worst economic recession in living memory, the Eason franchise is a model that continues to attract much interest. The company will open four new stores in the latter part of 2011 in Carlow, Balbriggan and Mullingar and Kilkenny bringing the franchise network to 21 stores.

It is expected more and more traders will seek the safe haven of a strong brand name such as Eason in what are very uncertain times for independent operators.

To ensure Eason attracts and retains the interest of serious applicants it will be re-structuring the way it engages with interested parties.

Eason keeps John’s (pictured right, top) business ahead of the competition

“Having owned an independent bookstore with my wife Betty for over 20 years becoming an Eason franchise owner was the natural choice for me,” explains John McNamee, of Eason Portlaoise. “With the recent economic downturn in Ireland, I could foresee difficult times for my business, so I turned to the franchise sector to find an opportunity that would provide me with a secure income and proven business model.

“It was the brand strength and marketing expertise of its franchise team that attracted me to the Eason business opportunity. Not only does Eason offer customers a superb selection of newspapers, magazines, stationery and books, it also provides forward thinking products, such as digital format publications, in-store downloads and online shopping – keeping my business ahead of the competition.

“For me, one of the most appealing aspects of the Eason franchise package was the ongoing support of its highly experienced marketing team. I can fully concentrate on running my store and providing the best service possible as Eason takes care of all my marketing campaigns and promotions.

“Before launching my store in 2007, Eason sent me on an intensive training course, on which I learned everything I needed to know about the business, from stock control and system operations to administration and staff management. Even though I have over 20 years of experience working in retail, I found my training to be very helpful.

“I know for a fact that if I had stayed with my independent business, my sales would be considerably lower – being associated with an established brand is a great asset. My main goal is to control the cost of business to maximise my profit margins and, with the assistance of the Eason franchise team, be perfectly placed for when the Irish economy recovers.”

Eason helps Tom’s (pictured right, bottom) dream Thurles store become a reality

Having already been successfully running his own newsagent business in Thurles, County Tipperary, for 13 years, Tom O’Toole discovered that franchising was the answer to his expansion plans.

“A recession focuses the mind,” explains Tom, “I was attracted to Eason as I knew about the company’s systems and stock control/re-ordering systems and, coupled with the buying power of a brand, I knew it was the best option.”

Launched in November 2010 in the same shopping centre his newsagent had been based, Tom’s Eason franchise has enabled him to extend his stocklines extensively.

“My newsagent business limited my business options, however, with Eason, we are now able to sell Lotto tickets and offer extensive ranges of books and stationery, not to mention the many promotions for which Eason has become well known for,” enthuses Tom.

“Combining the local knowledge and the custom my newsagent had built up with the expertise and strength of the Eason brand made sense for us at this stage.”

Staff from Eason’s head office guided Tom through every stage of setting up his business, with the company’s experts helping with everything from selecting the perfect site, and deciding the store’s layout and design, through to being trained in the company’s EPOS system.

“The support I have received from Eason since I became a franchise owner has been excellent and the team who helped restock my store have worked wonders,” he adds.

Tom’s store now benefits from clear lines and signage that give customers a relaxed and pleasurable retail experience. In addition, the revamped card department builds on the strengths of the offering customers of Tom’s newsagent had come to expect.

Tom has taken to his new role as an Eason franchise owner with ease and has been invited on to the company’s Franchise Owner Committee, where he has been able to share ideas and marketing initiatives with the entire Eason franchise network.

“I have been delighted how becoming part of Eason has really helped my business to grow – we have already seen a 15 per cent growth in sales and are well on our way to meeting our first year’s turnover target,” concludes Tom.