Paper Plus has just cause for celebration – the wholly New Zealand-owned and operated group has gone from strength to strength over the last few years in a pretty tough market. How did it beat the odds?
It's thanks to a number of things, but refocussing the Paper Plus brand with a greater emphasis on books and the launch of a concept store in Sylvia Park are the major reasons. Since then it has refined its direction and hunkered down with a more than $22 million refurbishment and brand redirection plan for all its stores – just two years after an overhaul in October 2009 of the same cost. The refurbishment plans require buy-in from all franchisees, but stores that have converted are already reporting a significant uptake in sales.
Paper Plus has a new lease of life as a new ‘green brand’ and with the new look comes a shift to a greater focus on book selling as well as a streamlined and consistent store layout, new marketing campaign, advertising creative and point of sale.
Hyde has created the new look and creative and will soon launch its Christmas campaign – Paper Plus is forecasting growth of 14 percent in books this Christmas. The local book market is currently at $250 million while the stationery market sits at $1.23 billion.
November saw 34 stores upgraded and all 106 Paper Plus stores will be converted by the end of March next year, with 10 new stores in the pipeline.
There is also a new Paper Plus website and online store, new customer loyalty programme (over and above the existing Fly Buys) which has a database of around 160,000, and more book focussed events for customers coming up in conjunction with book ambassador Kerre Woodham.
Paper Plus recently won the Westpac Franchise System of the Year award, also taking out Best Retail Franchise System, Best Retail Franchisee and Media campaign of the year. And Nielsen data shows it is achieving significant growth in the book category. In a temperamental market where volume grew 1.4 percent but value declined 4.5 percent, Paper Plus has grown volume by 9.1 percent and value by 15.1 percent (YTD).
This story originally appeared on StopPress.