Over the last few years, the phenomenon of the franchise as a new way of doing business has been undergoing a notable increase in Spain, with year on year growth rates of around 40%. As a result, Spain’s retail trade is suffering considerable transformations and growing ever closer to a profile similar to that dominant in other countries of the EU. This phenomenon of franchises in Spain, however, goes far beyond a mere modification of business manners, as it can only be correctly understood if it is placed in a framework of other processes with much wider dimensions linking the economies, and even the societies, of the developed world: economic globalization, management innovations, the creation of network organizations or the progress towards standardization, among others. Behind this conceptual structure, the authors attempt to demonstrate how the franchise networks are being implemented in Spain, what their main features are and what behaviour they follow as regards distribution of franchises throughout the territory and within the major cities of Spain. Finally, after pointing out the potential impacts of the franchise system on Spain’s business fabric, some research lines are indicated for further analysis.