Back in 1968 art students Judith Cash and Eddie Pond founded what was to become one of Britain’s favourite stationery stores. Paperchase is reported in the first week of January 2021 to be on the brink of collapse and is set to go into administration with potentially the loss of 1,5000 jobs and closer of more than 100 shops.
Company Voluntary Arrangement
The company has had a long history of problems with a number of owners and even agreeing a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) in 2019 with suppliers in order to remain in business. A far cry from that art college dream in 1968. Paperchase said: “The cumulative effects of lockdown one, lockdown two – at the start of the Christmas shopping period – and now the current restrictions have put unbearable strain on retail businesses across the country.”
Ian Carrrotte of ICSM Credit said: “It is sad to see the demise of Paperchase but our main concern is for the suppliers some of whom won’t get paid if they go into administration. Our intelligence suggest there are some suppliers who are going to take a big hit if they go and that problems set in long before Covid came along.”
Paperchase was begun in 1968 when London was the height of fashion
Christmas shut down
The BBC reported that the firm has filed a notice to appoint administrators, a move that will give it breathing space from its creditors while it works out a rescue plan. They said the second lockdown in November came at a crucial period for the firm, which makes a high proportion of sales at Christmas with up to 40% of its turn-over during the build up to the festive season. The chain now has 10 working days to find a solution.
ian Carrotte of ICSm Credit said that Covid-19 had hit the firm hard but it had a long history of money problems. W H Smith came to its rescue in 1985 and in 1996 it became Paperchase Products after a management buy out before in 2004 Borders took control. Three years late they sold a stake to to Risk Capital for £10 m. There were more problems in 2009 when Borders collapsed but HMV and Waterstones were amongst stores to offer Paperchase concessions in their shops in 2010 following a management buy out with Primary Capital Partners the current owners.
Some of Eddie Pond’s designs
Both Judith Cash and Eddie Pond continued to work as designers and artist after their period of control of the business. They were friends with Terence Conran in the 1960s and the man who went on the found Habitat helped put up the money to open the original shop in Kensington.
About ICSM Credit
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For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk