How Do Their Gardens Grow?
Just when you thought there was very little left to consolidate in the franchise segment of the printing industry, Franchise Services buys Signal Graphics. What this means to our study is that there are now only seven systems remaining.
This year, for the first time in quite a while, we have estimated numbers for one of the franchise groups. There are no updated numbers for LAZERQUICK's 2008 performance other than what could be found on line and extrapolated from last year's figures.
Aside from those two items, the franchise segment of the quick/small commercial printing industry seems to have held fairly steady in 2008. The trend toward fewer, more profitable shops continues, as do the efforts to convert independent companies to franchise members, especially as independent owners prepare for retirement.
Flowers in the Garden
At the dawn of 2009, there were 2,931 franchise locations. That is down by 186 from the previous year, for a 6.3% loss. Be aware that these numbers reflect not only businesses that closed, but also locations that were consolidated and franchisees who left their systems to continue in business as independents.
Every system decreased its number of shops this year. Franchise Services, whose previous year numbers were adjusted to account for the Signal Graphics acquisition, declined by 86 locations. ICED decreased its numbers by 37. Allegra Network saw 31 shops fall by the wayside. CPrint's members fell by 14, which is in keeping with the way that particular franchise is structured. Minuteman Press (seven), AlphaGraphics (five), and LAZERQUICK (one) experienced single digit departures.
Minuteman, with 973 locations, remains the largest system overall. Franchise Services is the second largest, with 665 shops. And ICED has 529 shops. There are 386 locations in the Allegra Network and 259 in the AlphaGraphics system. CPrint has 101 affiliates. LAZERQUICK, the only remaining regional franchise, has 23 locations, 12 of which are owned by the parent company GISI. The only other system that still holds a corporately owned location is ICED.
Please note that if you are adding up the numbers for yourself, you will not get the same totals. Our totals take into consideration that there were five locations with combined sales of $2,975,000 that are part of CPrint as well as their primary franchise. Those figures were backed out of the overall totals so that they would not be counted twice.
Five systems opened new locations in 2008. They were: Minuteman (40), Allegra (32), AlphaGraphics (16), CPrint (14), and Franchise Services (5).
All systems had locations that either closed, were consolidated, or left the franchise to continue their business as independents. The tally runs: Franchise Services (51), Minuteman (47), ICED (34), Allegra (33), CPrint (27), AlphaGraphics (21), and LAZERQUICK (one).
The systems that resold franchise contracts within their own systems were: Minuteman (72), Allegra (31), Franchise Services (18), AlphaGraphics (14), and ICED (five).
Of the 2,931 franchise locations, 2,341 are in North America and 590 are international. LAZERQUICK is found only in the U.S. Allegra and CPrint both have franchisees in the U.S. and Canada. Minuteman can be found in five countries and AlphaGraphics in eight. ICED has franchisees in 11 nations, and Franchise Services has affiliates in 13 spots around the world.
There are franchised print shops in all 50 states, but no one franchise is present in all of them. Minuteman has locations in 47 states, Allegra in 45, and Franchise Services in 42. You'll find AlphaGraphics in 39 states and ICED brands in 33, but LAZERQUICK is available only in the three states along the West Coast.
In 2008, total system-wide sales for U.S.-based quick printing franchises were $2,008,538,426, a decline of 3.4% on the year. Conversely, average system-wide sales were $286,934,061; up 10.8% over the previous year. This odd quirk of the numbers is due to the fact that there are fewer systems this year.