The high street stationery chain Paperchase is being put up for sale 15 months after it became one of the myriad retail casualties of the pandemic.
Sky News has learnt that Permira Credit, which has controlled Paperchase since a pre-pack administration in January 2021, has appointed advisers to oversee a sale following a number of unsolicited enquiries from potential buyers.
The approaches for the retailer come after an improvement in its financial and operating performance, aided by the closure of a number of stores as part of last year’s insolvency process.
People close to the company said its new owners had invested in Paperchase’s digital offering as well as new shop openings and executive recruitment since its brush with administration.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, which handled the pre-pack process, is understood to have been hired to oversee the auction.
At the time of its financial collapse, Paperchase employed nearly 1,300 people, and traded from more than 125 sites across the UK.
Its outlets included concessions at House of Fraser, Selfridges and a number of Next stores.
A person close to the company said its digital sales had grown strongly in the 2019-2021 period, with plans to expand that presence into seven European countries through an Amazon Marketplace offering.
Its current physical retail estate comprises 96 standalone shops and 32 concessions.
Revenue is forecast to double between its 2021 and 2024 financial years, according to the person.
Permira Credit, which is affiliated to Permira, the global private equity firm, had supported Paperchase for several years as a lender, but took a controlling stake last year through a vehicle called Aspen Phoenix NewCo.
A source said that it would seek a long-term owner with extensive retail industry expertise to facilitate the chain’s ongoing growth.
Paperchase was one of dozens of prominent retailers which crashed into insolvency during the COVID-19 crisis, with other notable names including Debenhams and the Dorothy Perkins-to-TopShop empire, Arcadia Group.
A spokesman for Permira Credit declined to comment on Friday.