‘Challenging’ year for indies as the drop in footfall hits home

‘Challenging’ is the one word that independent card retailers feel best sums up the industry as they start 2018.

The findings from the most recent Progressive Greetings/Cardgains Retail Barometer research survey highlight how independent card retailers were hit by the drop in footfall, the further shift to online shopping and continuing economic uncertainty.

The Progressive Greetings/Cardgains Retail Barometer is the only annual survey into the ‘the health and wealth of the independent card and gift retailer. It involves the 1,000 rooftops who comprise the Cardgains membership.

While 38% of respondents to the recent survey revealed that their business improved in 2017 (compared to the year previous), balanced against this, 35% admitted their business had experienced decline, with the remaining 27% managing to hold the line on their 2016 levels.


Commenting, Chris Dyson, joint managing director of Cardgains told PG Buzz: “Independent retailers are resilient, as the results of those who participated in the research show, but there is no denying that the last year has brought challenges that are difficult to counter, most notably the drop in footfall.”

Sadly, indies are going into 2018 in a less optimistic frame of mind than they were back at the start of last year, with over a fifth bracing themselves for a decline this year. On the up side though, 40% are gearing up for growth, only 1% less than at this time last year. However, stability is what the highest percentage of retail respondents are aiming for, with 38% expecting to steer a steady ship, holding trade hoping to hold their 2018 trade at 2017 levels.


Cardgains’ joint md Chris Dyson and Penny Shaw, its marketing director at the GCA AGM.
Cardgains’ joint md Chris Dyson and Penny Shaw, its marketing director at the GCA AGM.

As CardgainsChris adds: “There are some great products on the market and retailers have really upped their game in promoting their shops, but both sides of the trade now need to really pull together to look to further improve the retail experience – and coax the public back onto the high street. This is a top priority for us to work on with our members, suppliers and trade bodies, such as the GCA, in the coming year.”

The full findings of the PG/Cardgains Retail Barometer will be revealed in the February edition of Progressive Greetings (published towards the end of January).

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