Southern Co-op hires franchise expert to look after Welcome store operation

Richard Scrimgeour ‘brings strong retail knowledge and experience which can only strengthen our existing franchise offering’

Southern Co-op has hired industry expert Richard Scrimgeour to head up its franchise operations as it widens its capacity and seeks new partnership opportunities.

Scrimgeour, whose 20 years in the industry includes senior posts at Nisa and Bestway, becomes franchise operations manager as Southern continues to add new Welcome stores to its portfolio.

Southern’s franchise business manager Mike Fitton said: “We are continuing to grow the number of our Welcome stores at a controlled pace – making sure all our franchisees have access to strong support and our experienced guidance wherever they are located.

“We’ve proved how successful our model can be to our existing franchisees who we are delighted to see choosing to rebrand their wider portfolios as Welcome in partnership with Southern Co-op.

“We are delighted to have Richard on board as he brings with him strong retail knowledge and experience which can only strengthen our existing franchise offering.”

The Welcome franchise estate now has 73 stores, including a recent opening in Greasby, Wirral, in May.

“Hearing about the support package available for Welcome franchisees made my decision to join Welcome a very easy one,” said Scrimgeour. “I am looking forward to working closely with and supporting the Welcome franchisees, and to help grow the number of franchisees as Welcome expands its coverage further.”

Welcome franchisees can choose to implement recommended store formats based on consumer insights or adapt plans themselves. Franchisees are also encouraged by Southern to source products from local suppliers.

Other support available includes marketing, planograms, store development, space and sales analysis, a full EPOS and back office system, electronic shelf edge labels, dedicated support from an operations manager, and access to a support desk.