Download the 2013 Franchise Review Charts PDF here.
The hottest thing happening in the quick printing franchise segment has actually been a quiet undercurrent of activity for the last few years. It is the merging of the quick printing franchises with sign franchises. Sign-A-Rama was perhaps the model; starting out as a sister company to the Minuteman franchise.
Several years ago, Allegra Network acquired Signs Now and it is currently integrating the Signs By Tomorrow system into its franchise family. In February, it also announced a new sign brand, Image360. The new brand is designed so that existing Signs Now and Signs By Tomorrow franchisees can adopt the upscaled Image360 branding, or it can be sold as a new start-up.
At last year’s Franchise Services convention, there were several references to the company being in the market to buy a sign franchise. I’ve heard FastSigns mentioned at two different franchise conventions, but that may only be wishful thinking. FastSigns is an obvious choice, as is currently led by former PIP Printing president Catherine Monson, who knows her way around both sides of the equation. Why do quick printing franchise systems want to acquire sign franchises? In a word: Growth. While the shop numbers continue to decline and sales tread water in the mature quick printing franchise segment, sign franchises are in a growth cycle. The acquisition of a healthy sign franchise system can perk up a franchisor’s bottom line in a big hurry.
There may come a time when we will consider including the sales from the sign divisions of these franchises, but not this year. At least for now, we will continue to compare apples-to-apples as much as possible. If you would like more in depth information about sign franchises, read Wide-Format Imaging’s “2012 Sign Franchise Review” at MyPRINTResource.com/10714614.
System-wide Sales in Limbo
In 2012, total sales for the franchise segment of the industry were almost unchanged. Slipping by less than one percent (0.87 percent), the franchises produced gross sales of $1,538,383,512. North American sales were also down, but only by 0.42 percent. So, for all practical considerations, sales would be considered flat when compared year-over-year. Individual gains were scattered and rare in our survey of 2012 sales.
In 2012, Franchise Services Inc. (FSI) continued to lead in system-wide sales with a total of $439,190,000; up 1.9 percent over 2011 numbers. FSI is the franchisor of Sir Speedy Printing & Marketing Services, PIP Printing & Marketing Services, Signal Graphics Printing & Marketing Services, and Multi Copy. The Multi Copy brand operates only outside the US. ICED’s North American sales were $336,270,000; mirroring its overall 1.9 percent growth.
Minuteman Press International, franchisor for Minuteman Press and International Minuteman Press, posted 2012 system-wide sales of $430,000,000. That 2.38 percent increase was the largest reported in this year’s survey. North American sales held steady on the year at $350,000,000.
AlphaGraphics’ system-wide sales were $289,297,603; growing by 1.04 percent on the year. The brand’s North American sales were up by a relatively healthy 3.39 percent to total $239,164,977; the strongest domestic sales growth in the survey.
The Allegra Network is home to Allegra Marketing • Print • Mail, American Speedy Printing, Insty-Prints, and in Canada, Speedy Printing and Zippy Print. Its 2012 system-wide sales dipped by 0.49 percent to $225,000,000. Since the franchise is only in the US and Canada, its North American sales are the same as its system-wide sales.
ICED experienced the toughest year of any system. The franchise family of Kwik Kopy Printing, Kwik Kopy Business Centers, The Ink Well, Franklin’s Printing, and American Wholesale Thermographers suffered a 24.32 percent loss on the year, system-wide, with sales of $100,820,740. North American sales were down to $76,973,249; an 18.17 percent drop.