Established in 1886, Eason is now Ireland’s largest retailer of newspapers, books, stationery and cards and is now looking for investors to become part of its success story.
Having evolved from its 19th century origins at railway kiosks through to its most recent opening as the concession operator at Dublin Airport’s Terminal 1, Eason now serves more than 50 million customers every year from an extensive network of 44 corporate and 17 franchise stores.
Eason wants to share its accumulated operating experience to deliver retail solutions that maximise value and success for its franchise owners.
Eason is among the most iconic brands in Ireland and is much more than one of Ireland’s most popular Irish bookstore chains – as well as books, each Eason store offers newspapers, magazines, cards, stationery, and computer accessories.
The franchise opportunity
The independent book trade reached its height in 2007 with some 150 owner-operated stores spread across the country. Since then, the number of independent book retailers has contracted by 10 per cent year-on-year.
However, while its competitors have reduced their high street presence in Ireland during the economic downturn, Eason is very much focussed on expansion.
For a company that pioneered bookselling in Ireland, Eason was perfectly positioned to franchise in areas that were deprived of a local book retailer. It opened its first franchised outlet in Monaghan in 2005 and today the company has a network of 17 stores nationwide trading under the Eason name.
As a franchise owner – with an emphasis on owner – the company looks to attract applicants who will be able to infuse their business with their own personal, entrepreneurial touch, yet enjoy all the advantages, experience, backing and assistance of a large business operator. An Eason franchise is a system that works – it allows the owner to be in business for themselves – but not by themselves.
Advantages of being an Eason franchise owner
- Major brand recognition
- Better buying power
- Large scale advertising affordability
- Effective state-of-the-art point-of-sale
- Proven stock control systems
- Established gift card/loyalty programme
- Ongoing, on-call support
Eason’s highly experienced franchise team has already identified preferred areas for development and will assist in the selection and viability of any site. However, the team regularly meets applicants who either own a unit or have identified one that was not previously targeted as suitable for an Eason franchise.
Where the chosen site is deemed appropriate, the franchise team will then take the applicant through an evaluation process to assess:
- Suitability of the franchise applicant based on drive and ambition
- Track record/relevant experience in running/owning a store
- Access to funding for the fit-out, stocking and provision of and working capital
Eason franchise stores can range in size from 2,500sq.ft up to 6,000sq.ft. Once a store is deemed suitable, a survey of the building is commissioned to provide an estimate of the costs of turning an empty unit into a store ready for opening day. An Eason franchise is a long-term investment with a significant funding requirement.
Typical costs are (but not limited to):
- Shop-fitting range from €25/ €30 per sq.ft.
- Stock holding costs: €30/€35 per sq.ft.
- Investment in IT/EPOS system circa €25,000
To date the Eason franchise model has appealed to existing book/newsagent owners and well resourced entrepreneurs. However, more recently Eason has been receiving enquiries from shopping centre owners who are looking at the option of running the franchise themselves in their centre. This has the added advantage of providing a strong brand and a model that contributes significantly to the rent roll.
Eason places great emphasis on ensuring that all its franchise owners and their staff are professional and well qualified. To ensure that this happens, Eason gives ongoing training including everything from store set-ups, marketing and customer service techniques, to merchandising and point of sale systems. Franchise owners and/or their managers will receive training with Eason’s own book, stationery and news specialists. There is an extensive training manual that covers all aspects of the franchise operation.
Benefits of an Eason Franchise
- Calendar of promotional activities for the year
- Unique product mix – books, news, stationery and cards
- Access to a wide range of approved suppliers
- Expertise in category management of each department
- Site selection advice
- Store layout and design
- Store set-up and project management
- Provision of EPOS system and database maintenance
- Ongoing training and advice
- POS material, catalogues
- Territorial rights – use of brand