Christmas Day falling on a Wednesday has been a boon to card retailers this year.
Most people finished work last Friday or before which has meant that there are four bonus days until the big day, which has worked in card and gift retailers’ favour.
“We had a record weekend. We had anticipated ending up a few percentage down, but will now finish around 5% up which we are delighted about,” said Mark Janson-Smith, md of Postmark, four shops in London. “These last couple of days are always odd as stocks are so low, you wonder where the sales will come from but they are generally always good for us.”
Waterstones is one multiple who is more than happy with how its Christmas card sales have gone this year, with the last blast still to come.
“Our Christmas card sales are up, both on boxes and singles,” Hazel Walker, senior buyer told PG Buzz. “We have made a move away from cellopacks, but have not seen a drop in sales as a result.”
The official last day for posting Christmas cards was 20 December, but that is not an issue for the all-important special breed of last minute shoppers – men buying cards for their wives or girlfriends.
“Sales this weekend were very good,” said Nic Gornall of Romantica in Bristol. “And today and tomorrow will be very busy with tomorrow being mostly guys finally realising what day it is!”
Nigel Williamson, co-owner of House of Cards, the Home Counties group of six shops is braced for the surge.
“Christmas Eve is our busiest day of the whole year as people are shopping local. We have plenty of stock of ‘To my Wife’ cards in the racks and in the drawers underneath as the last thing you want to do is lose out on those sales,” says Nigel. “We are seeing a bit more equality between the sexes over the years. Though we have more male of the species coming in right until we shut on Christmas Eve, you still get a lot of female customers leaving their special cards til late in the day. They are all customers – better late than never!”
Rachael Barnes, of Dragonfly Cards and Gifts in Knaresborough is astounded by the forward planning of chaps up in her neck of the woods. “It’s been crazy busy for the last two weeks. We still expect the next two days to be just as manic, although men in particular do seem to be a lot more organised this year. We’ve sold far more Wife cards than we usually have at this point, in fact we’re in danger of selling out – they may have to have ‘One I love’ instead!”
Close to home PG’s creative director Mark Grayson is bracing himself for his annual event – buying as card for his wife Kathryn (who works in the card trade, for Danilo).
“Why break with tradition – I have been known to do a commando roll under the shutters of a card shop on Christmas Eve in a purchasing frenzy. Money is no object, it’s the thought that counts, albeit a rather tardy one!” he admits.
Top: A Christmas card display in Dragonfly Cards and Gifts, Knaresborough.