Paperchase ‘on brink of collapse’ as hopes of a rescue deal fade

Paperchase, a top high street stationery retailer, could appoint administrators as soon as today (January 31).
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Paperchase, a leading high street stationery retailer, is on the brink of collapsing into administration after solvent rescue deal plans fell through. The chain’s parent company could appoint insolvency practitioners from Begbies Traynor as soon as today (January 31), Sky News reports.

Paperchase currently operates around 100 stores in major cities across the country including London, Birmingham, Bristol and Sheffield. It is unclear how many stores and jobs would be put at risk by an insolvency, with Paperchase yet to release a statement on its position.

It is understood that Paperchase’s shareholders remain in discussions with more than one potential buyer, but the business is now focused on a “pre-pack” deal which sees a company’s assets sold immediately after it has fallen into administration.

It comes after Paperchase was put up for sale just months after being taken over by experienced retail investor Steve Curtis in August 2022. At the time of the takeover, Mr Curtis was said to be backing a management plan to grow the chain’s number of stores from 100 to 150 over the next few years.

Before that, Paperchase was one of the many retail casualties of the pandemic and underwent a pre-pack administration in January 2021. Other high street chains to collapse as a result of Covid-19 include Debenhams and Dorothy Perkins.

Former owners Permira Credit had previously invested in new stores as well as the Paperchase website and executive recruitment. At the time, the chain employed nearly 1,300 people and operated more than 125 sites across the UK with concessions at Selfridges, House of Fraser and Next.

A Paperchase store pictured on Park Street, Bristol.A Paperchase store pictured on Park Street, Bristol.
A Paperchase store pictured on Park Street, Bristol.

Paperchase was founded by art students Judith Cash and Eddie Pond, who opened a store in Kensington, London in 1968. It has changed hands numerous times since then, with WHSmith and now-defunct books retailer Border among its previous owners.