Cost-conscious consumers fuel frugal franchises

Mainstream retailers may be struggling to make ends meet, but alterations chain LookSmart Alterations is one of a number of franchises cashing in as consumers become increasingly frugal.


LookSmart, which already has 96 branches across Australia and New Zealand, is planning to add one new store to its network every month as it takes advantage of changing consumer trends.


Chief executive Ray Bryant told Inside Retail that instead of purchasing new clothes, consumers are more likely to repair or alter existing items in their wardrobe.


According to Bryant, LookSmart achieved an average growth rate of 11% each month in the first quarter of the calendar year, despite overall retail sales growing by little more than 1%.


“Low consumer confidence has strained the buying power across Australia and New Zealand,” Bryant said.


“As a result, many consumers are opting to repair old garments or tailor old garments into new styles to extend the lifecycle of their clothes. We have maximised on this trend.”


With an annual turnover in excess of $28 million, LookSmart is looking to expand its service offering to include embroidery and dry cleaning across all locations.


Here are two other franchises taking advantage of frugal consumers:


Mister Minit


Established in 1957, Mister Minit specialises in shoe repairs, key cutting, engraving and watch repairs.


“The Mister Minit team continues to build a strong service brand through commitment to excellence in customer service,” its website says.


“As a people-based service business serving over three million customers every year, we are committed to providing an environment and opportunity that attract the best people.”


“Investment in training and development ensure our team members are experienced in the latest technology and expertise.”


Mister Minit is repeatedly recognised by for its franchising model.


New Life Repair Services


An Australian-owned and operated business, New Life Repair Services specialises in leather, vinyl and plastic repairs, and restorations for the automobile and furniture industries.


“We have been an industry leader for over 27 years and, through our network of company-owned and Australian franchise operations, are setting new quality standards in service and repair,” the company website says.


According to the website, New Life Repair Services is used by hundreds of automotive and furniture businesses around the country.


“As market leaders in restoration, our priority is to provide customers with reliable service and quality of workmanship,” it says.


“From leather cleaner to odour treatment to seat repair, you can restore your old favourites to their former glory with New Life Repair Services.”


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