Card indies tell the truth on trade this year

Last years' retail barometer saw Independent retailers make predictions for the year ahead.
Last years’ retail barometer saw independent retailers make predictions for the year ahead.

This time last year, 41% of independent card retailers were predicting that their business would grow in 2017. Another 42% expected to remain on a par with the year previous, while 17% were bracing themselves for a slight decline.

In a few weeks, all will be revealed as to how the reality of the last 12 months have paned out for indies as the data from the annual PG/Cardgains Retail Barometer will be crunched to form the next instalment in this important rolling research project.

All 750 Cardgains members (who account for 1,000 rooftops) have been asked to participate in the survey, a long running co-initiative between Progressive Greetings and the independent buying group, which delves into the business patterns and concerns of the last 12 months.

Independent card retailers will be sharing their honest opinions on all manner of subjects, from the impact of Brexit, what have been the boons to business as well as their main bugbears.

Commenting on this year’s Retail Barometer, Cardgains’ marketing director Penny Shaw says: “It’s so important and always interesting to learn more about our members’ businesses as they constitute such an important sector of the UK greeting card industry. Having run the research project for so many years trends can be tracked shedding light on how wider issues and political situations affect independent retailers, their business and their expectations.”

Cardgains’ marketing director Penny Shaw and joint md Chris Dyson at The Henries 2017.
Cardgains’ marketing director Penny Shaw and joint md Chris Dyson at The Henries 2017.

The results of the last PG/Cardgains’ Retail Barometer, (published in the 2017 February issue of Progressive Greetings) highlighted the challenging retailing conditions.

“In the last Retail Barometer, indies were less optimistic about this year than in previous surveys, so it will be telling to see if that has come to fruition. The 2016 results highlighted real concern over new business rates while this year, the ongoing unsettled feeling over Brexit is being tracked,” says Jakki Brown, editor of Progressive Greetings.

Last year social media came out as the number one promotional mechanism, with an increasing number of indies getting to grips with the immediacy of this cheap and effective route to communicate with customers. “We’re particularly interested in the rise in social media activity among our members,” says Penny. “Our marketing mascot ‘Cyril Service’ is connected with many members and suppliers through Twitter and Facebook and he can easily interact with members around the country and get a peek into their shops.  Now that Christmas is coming, many members have excelled themselves with window decorations and internal displays for our #DisplayOfTheDay feature on Twitter.”

Cardgains members can take part in the survey The results will be published in the February 2018 issue of Progressive Greetings magazine.

Read the 2016 Retail Barometer results here:

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