Stationery firm Paperchase is preparing to appoint administrators as its stores are forced to close in another lockdown that has put ‘unbearable strain’ on non-essential retailers.
The company confirmed it had filed a notice to appoint PwC as administrator, which it hoped would give it breathing space from its creditors while a rescue plan is devised.
The company traditionally makes around 40% of its sales during the festive shopping period in November and December, which last year was disrupted by England’s November lockdown and restrictions on non-essential retail in Tier 4 areas shortly before Christmas.
A spokesperson for Paperchase, which has 127 stores and employs 1,500 people, 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.
“Paperchase is not immune despite our strong online trading. Out of lockdown we’ve traded well, but as the country faces further restrictions for some months to come, we have to find a sustainable future for Paperchase.
“We are working hard to find that solution and this [notice of administration] is a necessary part of this work. This is not the situation we wanted to be in. Our team has been fantastic throughout this year and we cannot thank them enough for their support.”
The retail sector has faced significant disruption due to the pandemic, with Arcadia Group, Debenhams, Bon Marche and Peacocks and Jaeger owner Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group among the big names that appointed administrators last year.
According to the Centre for Retail Research, almost 180,000 redundancies were made in retail in 2020. Some 200,000 further job losses in the sector are predicted this year if further support is not introduced.