Dragons' Den's Theo Paphitis Posts Strong Retail Figures For Ryman, Robert Dyas And Boux Avenue

Dragon's Den star Theo Paphitis has bucked the retail trend by posting strong figures for all three of his retail ventures.

General store Robert Dyas reported 14.7% like-for-like growth between 1 November and Christmas Eve, with stationery retailer Ryman rising by 2%, and lingerie specialist Boux Avenue increasing by 79.4%.

Robert Dyas' figures are particularly impressive, given the entrepreneur only bought the firm in July, after it recorded a fall in operating profit to £1.6 million from £2.8m in 2011. The business is now also free from bank debt.

Business analyst Nick Hood from Company Watch told the Huffington Post UK: "Robert Dyas is almost unrecognisable from the pallid performer it was before the Theo Paphitis retail revolution got under way. Not only are sales growing well in a tough consumer market, but profitability is blooming.

"There is now no bank debt burden to distract management or hold the business back from taking advantage of its high street niche and growing its online business to become a truly successful multi-channel operator."

Boux Avenue, which launched in April 2011, recorded sales of £6.9m and a loss of £8m in the year, but it is still expected to be profitable in the year ending March 2015.

Boux Avenue has 17 UK stores and three overseas franchise shops. It plans 25 altogether in the UK and 10 overseas and expects to see a surge in online sales this year.

In December, Paphitis took what some believed to be a bit of a gamble, and spent more on advertising the three brands on television.

Ryman Stationery, which is a 120-year-old business, ran its first ever TV commercial, with two 20-second films - one promoting an HP printer and a Brother Labelling Machine and a second advertising Really Useful Boxes and a Moshi Monsters Colouring & Writing set.

Speaking to Retail Week, Paphitis said his focus for 2013 will include expanding Boux Avenue further in the UK and overseas, continuing the positive work at Robert Dyas both in-store and online, as well as building on the consistent performance Ryman has delivered.

"While I expect 2013 to be every bit as challenging as the previous two years for the UK economy, I believe with the continued support of all my colleagues, the businesses will continue to meet their plans," he said.

"I look forward to exploring what retail has to offer both here in the UK and overseas. Investing my own funds allows me to implement strategies that are right for the long term, which continues to excite me."

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