Expansion on the cards for buoyant Paperchase


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The Independent Online

The greetings card industry is brushing off the threat from online, according to the boss of high street chain Paperchase.

“People are sending more cards than ever before,” said chief executive Tim Melgund. “The price of a card is nothing compared to a cup of coffee but people value the time and effort it takes to write and send a card.”

The stationery and greetings card retailer notched up a 14 per cent increase in sales to £113.8m in the year to February as profits leapt 27 per cent to £7.3m.

Mr Melgund said the retailer had caught the public’s imagination with strong sense of style. “We’re a fashion retailer, we just don’t sell clothes,” he said.

Mr Melgund added that cheaper rival Card Factory, which launched a lacklustre flotation last month, had enticed card shoppers back to the physical market.

The retailer is owned by private equity firm Primary Capital, which has a majority stake, and management who led a buyout of the firm in 2010. 

It has 107 standalone shops and 28 concessions, largely in Selfridges and House of Fraser, and harbours an ultimate goal of 200 stores.

The company also plans to expand its online operations following its rapid growth to become a £4m division of the business. Paperchase last year inked a tie-up with online fashion giant Asos which has proved popular. “I was sceptical, but I’ve been proved wrong – it’s grown into a nice, steady business and growing,” Mr Melgund said.

Paperchase is eyeing growth overseas. It currently has operations in Europe, Asia and the US and hopes to expand into Spain within the next two years.

The retailer is also keen to step up its operations in the US, where its own brand products are sold through retail giant Target. “We went in in 1999, and we’ve never not made money in the US,” Mr Melgund said.

Paperchase was founded by art student duo Eddie Pond and Judith Cash in 1968 and has previously been backed by book stores WH Smith and Borders.