Cash Crusaders continue growth despite economic downturn


Leadership sat down with Francois Roux, franchisee and owner of five Cash Crusaders stores to find out more about the business and why the retailer is such a resilient brand. As one of South Africa’s most popular retailers, Cash Crusaders have stood the test of time and proven to be recession-proof.

Tell us how many Cash Crusaders’ stores you own, and if you have any plans for new stores?

Currently five stores. If presented with an opportunity meeting my criteria, I will expand my business, for sure.

The first Cash Crusaders store opened in 1996 - how long have you been a Cash Crusaders franchisee and are you happy with your investment?

I have been a Cash Crusaders franchisee for nearly 20 years now. If I wasn’t happy with the Return on Investment (ROI), I would not be around. I love the brand, but I am not going to hang around for emotional reasons. The business is profitable, and the ROI is good.

Why did you decide to invest in Cash Crusaders stores?

Every time my wife and I visited George, I ended up in Cash Crusaders and I thought, if these guys can get me to buy here and come back to their store, then there must be something in the business model.

I contacted several franchisors, but the Cash Crusaders guys took the trouble to give me all the information that I needed and invited me to visit. There was a genuine desire to do business and I liked the approach, plus, the financials made sense.

How strong is the Cash Crusaders brand?

The brand has become prominent in communities. Young people have grown up with the brand and it’s now a part of their DNA. Nowadays, we don’t need to go into stores with anchors like Shoprite or Pick ’n Pay - we can act as an anchor, as the brand is strong enough. You hardly ever see stores for sale, as owners hang onto what they have built up. The guys who started the business still run the business. The franchisor takes care of group strategy, developing and improving systems, and marketing - and that allows me the freedom to run my business.

The current economy is tough, but Cash Crusaders is successful and enjoying annual growth in sales and profits, why is this?

My dad was a bank manager for almost 40 years. He often said that he has never seen a business close because of a bad economy, only because of bad management. I am still not 100% sure if it is true, but my team is not allowed to complain about a bad economy.

Compared to the rest of the retail sector, the business is doing well, despite the poor economy. The business model stands on more than one leg, and each leg responds differently to economic and market conditions.

Then what makes Cash Crusaders resilient in tough economic times?

Three profit centres. All three are important to be profitable, but there is the flexibility to shift the emphasis between the profit centres to adapt to the economic climate. The business is advertised to prospective franchisees as recession-proof. It is not a marketing line; it is recession-proof - and I am very glad it is.

And the competition?

Our biggest competition comes from the online space, like Gumtree and OLX. We must position our product relative to the market and we look at these sites to understand market pricing and values. We use the competition to our advantage.

Why do you think customers choose your Buyshop, rather than selling privately via Gumtree for example?

Our Buyshop transparency is key - we even disclose our selling price - customers understand that we run a business but also that we are fair in how we trade. The fact is that it’s safer and more convenient to sell your goods at our Buyshop, than online. There’s no need to have strangers coming into your house.

What is the biggest obstacle for prospective franchisees?

The second-hand component of the business. How to buy and how to sell at the right price - and this should be the last obstacle, as the system will give the lead. The system has been developed over 25 years and the support is from more than just the franchisor. A committed business owner will succeed in the business. 

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