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CeX


Could you give us a brief background on CeX as a company? CeX (Complete Entertainment eXchange) was established in 1992 on Tottenham Court Road by founders Bobby Dudani and Paul Farrington, who were obsessive tech and gaming geeks. They embraced the booming video game and computing era, and refined the idea of trading and exchanging old for new media and gadgets after early work experience gained in a renowned Notting Hill music store. Bobby invested his inheritance to open their first Computer Exchange store, as it was then known. The business grew slowly but surely, and in the early days focused mainly on imported new release video games from Japan. It quickly became a hidden gem, a cult store and, in time, evolved and expanded outside of London offering a wide range of technology-led products.


Why did the company decide to franchise? Franchising came much later, when, in 2004, our franchise founder, Hugh Man, along with one of our ambitious employees opened the first CeX franchise pilot store in Croydon. This proved to be a big success, and has since become the preferred way to expand the concept locally and internationally. The rest, as they say, is history.


26 | The Franchise Magazine 2017


Has CeX come up against any challenges or obstacles along the way? There have been many challenges along the journey as can be expected, some of which can be motivational and some seemingly insurmountable for any renegade startup enterprise. A constant challenge is to ensure that the business doesn’t over- extend its cash and people resources in the pursuit of global expansion. Rapid growth is exciting, but being ambitious can stretch finances, systems and talented humans to the limit, so learning to trade off projects and ideas is important.


You’ve been involved in franchising before. What made you make the move to CeX? I have a retail and commercial finance background with specific focus on the franchising sector, so when CeX began franchising in earnest, I saw the potential in the brand and joined the team in 2009. The company was still in its infancy with around 70 CeX stores worldwide, but with heaps of potential and a solid base to be a universal business model and recognisable brand. It’s important to understand the franchisee life


cycle, as early adopter franchisees have different needs and expectations to franchisees joining a mature franchise system.


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