The key to Ryman’s longevity, according to Paphitis, is ensuring that everything the retailer does is appropriate to its location, its client base, and understanding their requirements. “In the 24 years I’ve had Ryman, we have seen customer needs change and we’ve always adapted to them,” he told OPI.
With over 200 retail outlets across the UK, Paphitis was talking at the opening of the most recent Ryman store on King’s Road, London. However, as a relocation, it will not add to the total number of stores.
Explaining the decision, Paphitis said: “The high street is a very important part of the business and we are a community-led retailer. On King’s Road, for instance, customers have told us they’re pleased it has reopened. We would like to have stayed in the original location, but the lease had ended, and the landlord was unrealistic about its value considering the rise in business rates, online pressures and declining footfall.”
Despite bucking the current high street trend, the plan is not to open lots of new stores but fill in gaps where there is demand and the right site can be found. Ryman has also successfully made the transition into a multichannel operator, offering click and collect, physical stores or next-day delivery for both consumers and B2B customers. For the year ended April 2017, the online business grew almost 25%. According to Paphitis, e-commerce continues to grow and there is stability within the physical retail business. “This year has been good for us,” he added.