STATIONERY chain Ryman has toasted a robust Christmas trading performance after seeing like-for-like sales increase over the festive period.

The group, owned by former Dragons' Den star Theo Paphitis, revealed a 1.7 per cent rise in sales.

Ryman has branches in Darlington, Bishop Auckland, County Durham, and Northallerton, North Yorkshire, as well as shops in Newcastle and Sunderland.

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Mr Paphitis also revealed his homeware store Robert Dyas and Boux Avenue lingerie brands also fared equally well over Christmas.

Robert Dyas grew sales by 5.2 per cent between November 1 and Christmas Eve, with Boux Avenue, which has a branch in the MetroCentre, Gateshead, increasing revenues by 20.2 per cent.

Mr Paphitis, who appeared in the BBC show Dragons' Den with Darlington-based entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne, said: “Growth was delivered in all three businesses both online and in store.

“This shows that despite the challenges faced by many high streets across the UK, customers continue to respond to the right product, service experience and a convenience offering, where relevant.”

Annual figures for the year ended March 2013 also revealed Ryman's earnings held at £7.1m, with Robert Dyas seeing like-for-like sales rise 11.2 per cent and Boux Avenue posting a 60 per cent rise in like-for-like sales.