PAUL

Paul will move its St Pancras store to the Le Café format, with plans for a further store rebrands in 2024.

It would mark the second and third iteration of the format, after the re-opening of its 3 Quays store in 2023. The business said that the design and style of this brand and its focus on quality coffee alongside other customer favourites has seen an increase in sales.

During 2024 the business is refurbishing a number of its original stores such as Holland Park, Marylebone and Brampton Road, which will see the brand’s Parisien style introduced into the UK as seen in a number of the stores in Paris and elsewhere across the world.

In its latest financial accounts, the business said that the potential to grow sales via the website remains an important avenue. More store hubs will be introduced which will increase the area into which products can be delivered, increasing sales and providing customers with an alternative to visiting in person.

For the year ended 31 December 2023, total revenue increased to £36m, compared to £35m the previous year, with sales increasing by 3% vs 2022.

EBITDA after head office costs and before preopening expenses, exceptional and group fees was £0.6m, compared to £0.4m in 2022.

Furthermore, the celebration cake range will continue to be developed: using the skilled staff at the atelier, the cake offers both on the web and in-store will adjust to the seasons and favours in demand.

Executive chairman Maxime Holder said the challenge of how to deliver freshly produced cakes which are made without additives and palm oil continues to be worked on, with new delivery partners being used to ensure all deliveries are received by customers as intended.

The business said that the year under review had proved challenging with outside influences continuing to impact on the business. “The unsustainably high utility costs for most of the year together with the continued increase in the minimum wage hitting labour costs as well as raises in the cost of goods on the back of the global conflicts all impacted the profitability of the business.”

During the year there was a focus on staff training and development, which has helped improve staff retention and provide “enthusiastic, knowledgeable, well-trained staff which is critical to enhance the customer’s experience of Paul.”

Stores were identified which required urgent improvements, whether minor or major, and a refurbishment programme implemented. The work to upgrade the stores is ongoing and will continue during 2024.

In 2023 Paul closed its store in Piccadilly due to the redevelopment of the block by the Landlord. In addition, it closed offices at 30 Cannon Street and relocated to smaller offices close to its Brampton Road store.