Chain wants to go global
Stationery and office supplies retailer is considering overseas expansion, following a 75 per cent rise in pre-tax profits.

In the 28 weeks to October 16, pre-tax profit rose to£1.1 million, from£631,000 last year. Total retail sales rose by 25 per cent to£9.4 million compared with£7.5 million the previous year. chief executive Tony Rafferty said: 'We want to open about 50 more franchises in the UK next year. We intend to start the Master Franchise process. I think the business model would go down very well in western and eastern Europe and the US.'

Rafferty and chairman George Hardie said current trading is robust. The board remains optimistic that growth will continue.

On Christmas trading, Rafferty added: 'We are busy up until December 16, then it goes quite quiet. We counteract that with promotion - we sell year planners and diaries. Then we have a January Sale where we slash the prices.'

The group said that a number of exploratory discussions regarding the international Master Franchise programme have taken place but stressed that these are still at an early stage. was established in 1998 and has 147 stores in the UK and Ireland.