Paper Plus (NZ) Ltd has purchased the Books & More franchise chain, increasing the number of outlets in the Paper Plus Group to 192.

The sale is effective from September 1.

The Group now trades under four brands -- Paper Plus with 83 stores, Paperplus Books with five, Take Note (71) and Books & More, with 33 stores.

Books & More hosts PostShops, whch provide a range of postal products and services, including bill payments and, in most cases, Kiwibank.

The purchase almost doubles the number of Paper Plus Group stores that include PostShops to 63.

A preferred New Zealand Post 'hosting agreement' has also been signed by the Paper Plus Group.

Paper Plus chief executive Rob Smith said the agreement has the potential over time to provide consumers with even greater access to banking and postal services throughout the country.

New Zealand Post chief operating officer Customer Solutions Paul Hutchinson said the sale had been driven by many factors.

"These included New Zealand Post's focus on growing postal and banking products and services rather than running a book and stationery franchise business," he said.

- NZPA