Paperchase’s brand health improves during pandemic despite losing customers

Stephan ShakespeareCEO and Co-Founder
February 10, 2021, 3:00 PM UTC

Stationary retailer Paperchase has struggled throughout the pandemic, and was at the brink of administration at the start of this year. The chain has now been rescued in a deal which will save 1,000 jobs and 90 of its 125 stores.

A Paperchase spokesperson said the coronavirus crisis and the closure of non-essential retail had put an “unbearable strain” on the business despite strong online trading. The blow from the loss of the festive trading season which usually accounts for 40% of its sales had been especially big.

While Paperchase has struggled with these restrictions, it has also had to compete against better positioned online players such as Moonpig, which recently launched an IPO off the back of its lockdown success.

New YouGov BrandIndex data shows that Paperchase’s current customer score declined by 6.2 points from last year (9 Feb 2019 to 8 Feb 2020) to 3.7% this year (9 Feb 2020 to 8 Feb 2021). Paperchase stores are designed for browsing and customers typically visit before seasonal occasions, such as children buying stationary before starting a new school year. These purchase behaviours are hard to replicate online.

But despite Paperchase struggling without in-person shopping experiences, YouGov data shows there is still appetite for the brand. The proportion of consumers who would consider buying its products has stayed relatively steady from last year, only decreasing by 0.6 points to 14.7%.

Public perception of Paperchase has also improved during the pandemic. A higher share of people now have a positive impression of the brand, boosting its impression score by 1.5 points. Customer satisfaction scores (whether someone is a satisfied or dissatisfied customer) also improved by 1.7 points, and value for money perception scores grew by 2 points.  

The proportion of Britons who say Paperchase represents good quality has also increased, prompting a 1.8 rise in its quality perception score. This is a metric Paperchase scores highly in compared with other brands such as WH Smith.  

Once restrictions are lifted on non-essential retail, the data implies that consumers will want to return to Paperchase stores, making the new ownership’s plan to retain some of its retail footprint well placed.

Image: Getty

This article previously appeared in City A.M.