Paperchase is on track to open 70 of its standalone stores by July 13 in line with its phased re-opening programme with the remainder anticipated to follow in early August. The retail multiple only opened 18 out of its 126 standalone stores on June 15 (the date when non-essential retailers in England were allowed to start trading again). Its concessions in other stores (such as in Next) have re-opened as and when those branches started trading again.
Now in phase two of its three-phased re-opening programme, this weekend sees the re-opening of its outlet stores as well as other branches, with its shops located in many city centres being the last to open, in line with footfall expectations.
Frances Burkle, Paperchase’s product director told PG Buzz that the re-opened stores have been “trading ahead of expectations” but stresses that, given the unsettled times, the retailer is “taking a cautious approach to the rest of the year.”
Not surprisingly, Paperchase’s online platform has been “flying”, experiencing huge increases in sales of both greeting cards and stationery, the latter affected by so many people working from home.
Frances pays tribute to the retailer’s many greeting card publishers and other suppliers for their financial support and understanding over the last few months. “We cannot thank them enough for working with us on this.”
As Timothy Melgund, Paperchase’s deputy chairman added: “These are indeed unprecedented times which require everyone in business to take measures that were almost unthinkable only a few months ago.”
Echoing the importance of everybody working together, he told PG Buzz: “The greeting card industry has proved yet again that it is incredibly resilient, current and special.
If this horror show has taught us anything, it is how you have to be nimble and maintain relationships – be it with colleagues, suppliers, and landlords.”
Having been involved in renegotiations with landlords on rents, Timothy said that “nearly every single one had been appreciative of the conversations and have been able to put together new agreements.”
He confirmed that it totally Paperchase’s intention to re-open “every single store”, but remains concerned about those located in city centres and transport sites, due to the lack of footfall.
Top: The Chelmsford Paperchase is among the stores to have re-opened.