Independent leisure retailer Chips is swelling its operation by launching franchises in an attempt to challenge rivals Electronics Boutique and Game.
The north east retailer has already established six stores and intends to increase the number in the future. The first franchised store will open in early May. Three more potential franchisers have already been lined up.
The company's owners, Nik Agar and Don McCabe, are looking to use its local brand strength to challenge its competitors in the leisure sector.
McCabe said the local perception was that Chips was larger due to its stores outnumbering both Game's and Electronic Boutique's in the region.
He added: 'Chips has a very strong brand in the north east and with the funding and franchising now sorted out, this will grow. We have the funding to open at least 15 stores by end of the year, but we will be taking it steady. We have seen too many retailers grow too quickly.'
McCabe said the company had also established good relationships with suppliers and set up a central warehouse to supply all stores.
Clive Bishop, general secretary of the National Association of Specialist Computer Retailers (Nascr), said: 'It is a good ideal, which has been well thought out. I've been aware Chips had this plan and it's good to see it go into action. The plan will give Chips more buying power and help to increase brand strength.
Chips has a turnover approaching #2 million and has grown 25 per cent each year.
Game and Electronics Boutique were unavailable for comment.
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