THE stationery chain Paperchase is on the brink of going into administration after sales were hammered by closures at the end of last year.

The firm, which has 127 stores and 1,500 employees, said it had filed a notice to appoint administrators from PwC to advise on its insolvency process.

In Hampshire, Paperchase has stores at Southampton’s Westquay Shopping Centre, Whiteley Shopping Centre, St George’s Street in Winchester and the Furlong in Ringwood.

Paperchase launched a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) restructuring last March in an attempt to turn around its fortunes but was hit hard by the pandemic.

A Paperchase spokesman said: “The cumulative effects of lockdown 1.0, lockdown 2.0 – at the start of the Christmas shopping period – and now the current restrictions have put unbearable strain on retail businesses across the country.

“Paperchase is not immune despite our strong online trading.

“Out of lockdown we’ve traded well, but as the country faces further restrictions for some months to come, we have to find a sustainable future for Paperchase.

“We are working hard to find that solution and this NOI (Notice of Intent to appoint administrators) is a necessary part of this work. This is not the situation we wanted to be in.

“Our team has been fantastic throughout this year and we cannot thank them enough for their support.”