De-Branding A Retail Store

There is a day no operator looks forward to – a day when one of their stores closes for business. Whether it is your only store or you are the franchisor, and it is one of your franchisees stores, closing a store can have a direct impact on the overall brand. While it is never a pleasant situation, how youhandle┬áthe closing can have an influence on the remaining stores and their brand.

I am sure that many have driven by a closed store that still has the logo signs intact and other branding signage. It is an eyesore, speaks poorly regarding the operation and slowly erodes the brand value if left untouched. Whether a store is operational or not, a decaying storefront is detrimental. In order to maintain the integrity of the go-forward brand, one cannot simply lock the doors and walk away from the store. How a franchisor or a multi-unit operator manages a de-branding is sometimes as vital as how they manage a grand opening.

Over the years, I have been a part of many grand openings and regretfully, many store closures. While a grand opening goes from a “vanilla box” to a retail store in a matter of months, a properly de-branded store must go from a fully operational retail store to a “vanilla box” in less than a day. Ultimately, a complete de-branding essentially erases the store from the retail landscape before customers are even aware. The quicker it can be “out of mind”, the betterment of the brand going forward. Some retailers even take this a step further by de-branding throughout the night to minimize the observation of the process by customers.

NOTE: In some cases, a store closure could be “repositioned” and identified as a “store relocation” – directing existing customers to the nearest store with marketing and signage. This allows for the operator to retain existing customers and slowly migrate them to another store.

Store de-branding is not an effortless process and generally an allocation of upwards of 40 to 60 man-hours may be required to properly de-brand the store (depending on the store design and format). The goal is to return both the interior and exterior of the store to its original state, so a proper de-branding process should consist of the following:

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