Tesco buys Paperchase brand, but not stores - putting more than 800 jobs at risk across UK

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Tesco’s emergence as a buyer has been dubbed “unexpected”, especially as it is currently going through a shake-up of its own with more than 2,000 roles at risk.

Tesco has acquired Paperchase after the stationery retailer collapsed into administration this week. But the future is uncertain for hundreds of employees as the supermarket giant has only acquired the brand and not the firm’s 106 stores across the UK - putting 820 jobs at risk.

Paperchase has been grappling with disappointing sales and rising costs since the pandemic and went into administration on Tuesday (January 31), just four months after being bought by a group led by retail investor Steve Curtis. The chain was previously rescued from administration in January 2021 by Permira Debt Managers, which invested in new stores along with the company’s digital offering.

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At that time, the chain employed nearly 1,300 people and operated 125 sites across the UK with concessions at House of Fraser, Selfridges and Next. Administrators from the insolvency firm Begbies Traynor will handle the firm’s operations in the short term, with stores set to remain open and continuing to trade as normal for the foreseeable.

Retail analysts have said the emergence of Tesco as a buyer was unexpected. 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.”

Tesco is currently going through a major shake-up of its own, with more than 2,000 jobs at risk after the supermarket announced plans to close its meat, fish and hot deli counters. It is understood that many of the employees affected will have the option of moving into lower-paid roles.

Paperchase will continue to honour gift cards but the joint administrators are urging customers to redeem them within the next two weeks.

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