Paperchase has opened its first airport store as it eyes further channels to expand internationally.
The stationery, gifts and greetings card retailer expects to open more airport stores - in the UK and overseas - if the first at Manchester Airport is a success.
Paperchase already has a network of train station stores, but chief executive Timothy Melgund told Retail Week airport shops offer “something quite different”.
“Train stations are about regular custom and seasonal opportunities,” he said. “But air travel is something quite different – it’s about gifts and treats because you may be meeting friends or going on holiday, so it has quite a different mix of product.”
Melgund believes the Olympics helped boost the retailer’s profile among overseas visitors.
“We didn’t generate huge sales when the actual event was on,” Melgund said. “But there were 60 million people travelling on the tube and travelling through stations where we’re located. My guess is we’ll do nicely from it.”
Paperchase, which currently has 88 UK stores, 13 franchises in the Middle East and two railway franchises in the Netherlands, aims to open a standalone store in the US after re-entering the market in a deal with US retailer Target to sell exclusive products from next month.
Melgund said it would prefer to find a store on the East coast initially due to the time difference but declined to give any further details.
Paperchase traded in the US when it was owned by US bookseller Borders Inc but was forced to pull out when it collapsed in 2011.
French department store Galeries Lafayette started selling Paperchase products in its Boulevard Haussmann and Rue de Rivoli stores this week.
In the UK, Paperchase is unveiling its next train station store at Waterloo on October 25 after opening at London’s Hammersmith Broadway last week. It also operates at stations including Kings Cross and Euston in London.
Paperchase is to open a further 10 stores in the UK before the end of 2012, and is also planning to launch a flagship in Glasgow next March. Property agent CBRE acts for the retailer.
For the year to January 28 Paperchase’ pretax profit rocketed 29% to £846,000 while EBITDA surged 20% to £5m. Total turnover increased 9% to £77.6m.