TEL: LONDON +44 (0)20 7920 4800 / MANCHESTER +44 (0)161 641 1000


Paperchase is the UK’s retail leader in design-led stationery, cards and gift-wrap. The company designs much of its own product range and new collections are released every few weeks. A fashion retailer that doesn’t sell clothes, the company has been trading for over 40 years through its own stores, concession outlets and, more recently, online at


Following an earlier MBO, Paperchase was acquired by the US-based Borders Group Inc in 2004. By 2009 Borders was experiencing financial difficulty and the Paperchase management team wanted to take the business back into private ownership. They looked for an investor who could understand the Paperchase brand and support their plans for further development. In July 2010 we backed a management buy-out. Importantly for the team, the deal involved no acquisition debt, which might otherwise have slowed expansion.

The Big Idea

The loss of the concession business in Borders (UK) bookshops in 2009 presented the company with the opportunity to roll out its own stores in locations where there was existing and proven customer demand. We also saw opportunity in further developing the business internationally.

The Grand Plan

Since our investment, we have added more than 75 new stand alone stores in the UK and the roll-out is ongoing, with a third flagship store opened in Glasgow in March 2013.

The UK store roll out is only part of a much more ambitious development of Paperchase. International expansion is a key element of the growth plan, with concessions already open in Holland, Denmark, Ireland, France and Canada and further territories are under constant review. We have introduced a specially designed product range for over 3,500 stores in the US, via partnership with two major retailers. We have also redeveloped the e-commerce offering with a new platform, upgraded the transactional website, introduced Click-and-Collect and launched a loyalty scheme, Treat Me, which has attracted 1.4 million customers in its first 12 months, as well as the launch of a personalised card offering.

The Bottom Line

Sales grew by 27% since our investment and Paperchase has cemented its market-leading position in the cards and stationery market in the UK.  The business was realised in March 2019 to Permira Debt Managers.

Paperchase logo

Investment Summary

Year investment made:  July 2010
Deal status:  Realised

Date of realisation: March 2019
Company website:
For more information talk to:  Graham Heddle or Neil Wallace

"Our experience with the Primary Team could not have been better really. They are deeply interested in our business, great at challenging management, but never interfere. They have remained true to the initial investment strategy, despite the turbulent environment, and have kept us focussed on shareholder value. Very much what it said on the packet!"

Timothy Melgund, Chief Executive, Paperchase

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