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Paper Plus Announces $22 Million Nationwide Investment And Refurbishment Plan

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Paper Plus Announces $22 Million Nationwide Investment And Refurbishment Plan

The Paper Plus Group has announced a nationwide investment and refurbishment plan this week which will involve the refitting of the entire network of 106 Paper Plus stores over the next two years.

While other book and stationery retail chains are moving headquarters offshore, Paper Plus, the only nationwide 100% New Zealand owned and operated book and stationery retailer in the country, will invest almost $22 million in its local brand by December 2011.

By this time, the company plans to grow from 106 to a target of 120 to130 stores and will utilise the resource of New Zealand contractors to complete this process. Paper Plus CEO Rob Smith says the company was already reviewing its future plans when the recession hit and after extensive research and customer feedback decided to fast-track this development to secure its position in the marketplace.

Since August this year, on average two stores each week have been refitted and re-opened at locations around the country, including stores in Manukau City, Howick, Thames, Taupo, Wellington, Nelson and Oamaru.

The development plan will include numerous new stores in various locations where the company is under-represented and strengthen the current offering of its 106 stores throughout the country.

Included with this development will be initiatives such as in-store book champions to advise and assist customers, the expansion of the Kids' Club, an upgraded website and enhanced merchandising to improve the customer shopping experience. The business is also launching a new advertising campaign to draw attention to the company's book and stationery offer.

More than 650,000 customers visit stores each week contributing to the Group's combined annual turnover approaching $200 million. Despite a slight decline being recorded in the New Zealand book and stationery market, Paper Plus has continued to record positive growth over last year and the plans announced today should enhance this growth further.

The company's increased focus on books and the introduction of innovative programmes such as Book Choices and the recruitment of Kerre Woodham as books spokesperson since 2007 has already been paying dividends, with a 16.0% increase in category growth year to date.

"The roll-out is part of a reinvention programme for Paper Plus called 'Concept 6'," says Smith. "It is our goal to have all stores in Concept 6 by December 2011. Our first test store in Sylvia Park was opened in June 2007 with a new look and design. This was further enhanced with the launch of a 1,000 sqm store in Masterton in December 2008. Both stores have been very successful and form the platform of the concept we are rolling out to the balance of our stores."

Smith says the new concept store came about after listening to franchise owners and customers. "We are conscious of the importance of using their feedback to provide the best services and products for each specific market.

"We believe this investment will let customers know that when they visit a Paper Plus Concept 6 store they're going to find a refined, specialised and comprehensive focus on books and stationery, from a New Zealand company serious about supporting the local economy.

"Currently Paper Plus is the number one retailer of greeting cards in New Zealand, selling around three million each year. Our ambition is to replicate that position in both the books and stationery categories and move to a market leadership position over time," he says.

The Group continues its focus on supporting the local communities in which it operates and does so in numerous ways from local charity organisations to community support infrastructures.

The growth plans will open up opportunities for new franchisees to join the Paper Plus Group and those looking to own their own business, offering a secure and proven business model for the future.

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