Owner also says new High Street retailers can rival the big boys

Theo Paphitis to grow Ryman’s B2B and multi-channel offering

Stationery retailer Ryman will up its focus on targeting businesses this year following a 1.7 per cent like-for-like increase in sales over the Christmas period.

"Ryman will continue to enhance its own multi-channel capabilities and expand upon B2B opportunities," said owner Theo Paphitis.

Total like-for-like sales at the retailer – which has 237 UK stores – rose 0.9 per cent for the financial year ending March 2013, with online growing 24.7 per cent in the year. Operating profit was marginally ahead at £7.1 million in 2013 versus £7 million in 2012. 

Turnover increased 0.8 per cent to £125.4 million from £124.3 million, with net assets of £37.6 million from £34.5 million in 2012.

Paphitis also owns homewares retailer Robert Dyas and lingerie retailer Boux Avenue, with sales up 11.2 per cent and 60 per cent during the 2013 financial year respectively.

"The continued success of my three businesses shows the overall outlook for retail can be positive even in a challenging environment," he said.

"With the right strategy, new brands like Boux Avenue are able to thrive just as much as the more established High Street names; as we are demonstrating with Ryman (120 years old) and Robert Dyas (140 years old).

"This is one of the many reasons why retail still excites me and I will continue to seek new opportunities and expand my existing brands. Using our own resources also affords us the ability to set our own strategy for the long term benefit of our customers and colleagues across all the businesses.

He added: "Growth was delivered in all three business both online and in store. This shows that despite the challenges faced by many High Streets across the UK, customers continue to respond to the right product, service experience and a convenience offering, where relevant.

"All three businesses saw significant increases online, setting record internet sales weeks at various times in the period. The response from our customers to our proposition, both online and in store, meant we were able to deliver increased sales and improve margins at the same time by avoiding the need for discounts seen elsewhere in a challenging market."

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