By Aimee Chanthadavong

Mrs. Field’s Australia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with New Zealand Natural Ice Cream to develop co-branded stores in Australia.

Andrew Benefield, Mrs. Fields Australia managing director, told Retailbiz that it will enable the two brands to maximize their profits.

“The reason is to really maximise the profitability and the retail space for the franchisees because we know that retail rent is rising; the more revenue you can do out of every square metre the better,” he said.

Benefield also noted that the brands logically fitted together.

“As we looked around we asked what we could add to our product range and jumped at the opportunity at adding someone else’s product to ours, but we had to make sure it was logical fitting products to consumers,” he said.

“We’ve seen some brands that have got it all wrong where they have added new products but it just doesn’t work. It’s like adding a hamburger to our menu.

“Customers come to us for a treat, for something sweet and to reward themselves and we needed to find something to suit that and we were looking for an equally premium product that would make sense. The most important thing is that if were going to grow our sales, it has to work as a whole.”

While one store at Sydney Central has operated as a combined store for over 10 years, the new agreement now fully integrates the operation through one consumer point-of-sale system. The combined operations will give franchisees an opportunity at new locations as the brands can now consolidate area and floor space. 

“It’s a chance for current and new franchisees to further maximise their revenue. But of course they don’t have to take on that extra license and vice versa for New Zealand Natural Ice Cream franchisees,” Benefield said.

“And because we both use a frozen product there’s not a huge capital requirement to upgrade and offer another brand as it’d $50,000 and under it to add on.”

Ultimately, however, it’s up to the franchisees and the centre and the timing of what’s practical and that kind, Benefield added.