While it is a widely held belief that the UK leads the world in greeting cards, it does seem as though retailers hailing from foreign shores are setting their sights on nabbing some share from domestic rivals.
The brainchild of Swedish entrepreneur Kristina Karlsson, kikki.K, which has become a firm favourite among the stylish in Australia, where it debuted, is now working its magic in the UK.
It has recently opened a new store in London’s St Pancras station enticing commuters and tourists with its own brand selection of stationery and greeting cards. This means kikki.K now operates from five standalone stores in the UK, but its products are also stocked in other selected stores, such as Selfridges and John Lewis. It also has stores in Singapore, Hong Kong and New Zealand and is now believed to also be pursuing expansion opportunities in the States.
Sentiment, mindfulness and gratitude are evident in the design of its pastel products. To encourage multi-buys in the new store, greeting cards are on a ‘3 for 2’ offer.
To tie-in with its journals, customers are invited to attend workshops (held in its Covent Garden UK flagship store in the early evening) on themes that include Happiness, Mindfulness, Planning and Goals.
Another Australian retail import, Smiggle, the fun stationery retailer, recently opened its 100th shop in the UK and says it is on track to reach its self-confessed aim of 200 stores by 2019.
Although stationery is the main thrust of the retailer’s colourful portfolio, which is all own brand product, it does include greeting cards in its remit, with the funky designs aimed at the teenage/young adult market it serves.
Commenting on its recent set of results, group managing director John Cheston told Retail Week: “Our like-for-likes from February to July show very strong growth. I couldn’t be happier.”
In addition to opening in UK high streets and shopping centres, Smiggle has also has opened stores in retail parks as well as expanding into the Republic of Ireland.
Another new name on the UK scene is the Dutch discount retail brand, Hema. The varietal retailer, which sells a wide selection of products, from cards and stationery to homewares and packaged food, has seven stores in the UK, including one in London’s Euston station.