Stationery specialist Ryman generated sales and profits growth last year but cautioned 2011 will be challenging.

The retailer, owned by Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis, revealed pre-tax profits up from £5.7m to £6.3m in the year to March 27 2010. Turnover rose 5% to £123.4m.

Paphitis said he was “very pleased” with the results but that “it was a tough year”. He said recent trading had been challenging, because of the weather: “We had some shockers when the snow came but we’re recovering well.”

Paphitis said Ryman performed strongly last year because of its specialist credentials. “Staff know what they’re talking about,” he said.

Ryman will raise prices in a considered manner “over a period”, in light of the VAT rise.

Ryman has 240 stores and Paphitis said it may open six in 2011, if the right locations were found.

It is understood that Ryman will launch a revamped business-to-business service with a new ecommerce offering in the coming months. A source close to the retailer said it was a “natural progression”.

Paphitis revealed his new venture, lingerie retailer Boux Avenue, is in the process of fitting out its first stores in the Trafford Centre, Bluewater, Meadowhall, Lakeside, St David’s Centre and Buchanan Galleries. All will open in March.