Paperchase chief executive Timothy Melgund declined to give sales figures, but said like-for-likes in December were up on the same period in 2006 and the retailer put in a good performance over Christmas.
The designer stationery retailer is aiming to at least equal its number of store openings in 2007, when it took 10 standalone stores and seven concessions. Paperchase, which is advised by CB Richard Ellis, is searching for stores of about 2,000 to 2,500 sq ft (185 to 230 sq m).
Melgund said: “The year ahead will be as tough as all the big pundits are saying, but you always have winners and losers. If you’re a strong brand and you have a loyal customer base, you will do well.”
Paperchase, which has more than 100 stores in the UK and is part of the Risk Capital-owned Borders group, has been building its presence on the UK high street steadily for the past few years. “We’re having increasing success with landlords in making them understand how we blend into the high street,” Melgund added.
CBRE director David Kenningham said: “Paperchase’s offer is attracting the attention of key shopping centre owners. It’s considering a wide mix of retail opportunities, both on the high street and in shopping centres, and looking to achieve a balanced portfolio throughout the UK.”
Melgund said that he is considering a range of sites in the UK, but added: “We are quite picky and like to get our sites right.”
Last year, Paperchase opened several standalone stores at locations including Chiswick, Derby, Exeter, Guildford and St Pancras Station in London. It also has concessions in all Borders stores and 19 House of Fraser stores.
Last year, the retailer also carried out a refurbishment programme across some of its older stores. This year, it will be investing heavily in its stores at Tottenham Court Road in London and at St Mary’s Gate in Manchester.