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Tesco deal to buy Paperchase brand will not save its stores

The 106 branches of Paperchase - including the one in Cambridge - are still facing closure after Tesco agreed to buy the brand but not its shops or workforce.

The high street stationery chain hired administrators on Tuesday morning after it was unable to secure a rescue sale.

A Paperchase store. Picture: Paperchase/PA
A Paperchase store. Picture: Paperchase/PA

Tesco then announced a deal to buy the brand and intellectual property from the insolvency specialists.

But it means Paperchase’s stores - including its site at 20 Market Hill - are expected to shut, with hundreds of shop workers likely to face redundancy.

Administrators from Begbies Traynor said that they would keep the shops open for a short time, and that staff would stay in their jobs in the meantime. But no comment was made about what would happen to their jobs in the long term.

The administrators said 75 workers at the London head office had been made redundant.

The ailing business failed to secure a buyer when it was placed on the market by retail veteran owner Steve Curtis.

The administrators said: “On January 31, Mark Fry, Kirstie Provan and Gary Shankland, of Begbies Traynor, were appointed as joint administrators of Aspen Phoenix Newco Limited, which trades as Paperchase.

“Unfortunately, despite a comprehensive sales process, no viable offers were received for the company, or its business and assets, on a going concern basis.

“However, there has been significant interest in the Paperchase brand and attendant intellectual property.

“The joint administrators will continue trading the company’s operations in the short-term, with all stores remaining open and trading as normal.”

The company said it will continue to honour gift cards in the short-term but stressed it will “not be possible” to redeem these after two weeks.

Paperchase also fell into administration two years ago, with the closure of 37 stores.

Jan Marchant, managing director of home and clothing at Tesco, said: “Paperchase is a well-loved brand by so many and we’re proud to bring it to Tesco stores across the UK.

“We have been building our plans to bring more brands and inspiration to the ranges we currently offer and this will help us to take those plans further.

“We look forward to sharing more with our customers in due course.”

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