Stationery retailer Ryman expects record profits for the year to March 31, as it ramps up its store opening programme.

Ryman commercial director Kypros Kyprianou said its performance this year was “substantially ahead of last year in terms of profitability and sales growth”. He added: “This is good, given the current market.” He said that like-for-like sales have been positive.

The retailer wants to open more than 60 stores in the next 18 months, which will take its portfolio to more than 300. It operates 240 outlets across its three chains – Ryman, Partners and Stationery Box. However, following a successful trial, the retailer plans to rebrand all of its stores to Ryman by the end of the summer.

Kyprianou said: “Ryman has benefited from consolidating all three businesses. It is also in the fortunate position of having no debts in the business.”

In the year to March 31, 2007, sales rose marginally to£51.9 million. Pre-tax profits also inched up to£4.2 million, according to accounts filed at Companies House.

Kyprianou declined to say whether Ryman is interested in any of The Works stores, after the retailer went into administration earlier this month. However, he said: “It does sell stationery, we are not ruling it out.”

Online will be a key area of focus for the retailer for the next 12 months and Kyprianou expects sales to double by next March.

Ryman also plans to launch a service next month that will enable customers to set up an account with the retailer and pay at the end of the month.

Kyprianou said that the retailer’s main priority for the next year will be the UK and possibly Europe.