Growing specialist retail group, Cardzone has committed 70% of its greeting card shop estate to Hallmark, making it the dominant card supplier – and the greeting card brand being added to the fascia of the shops. By mid January, 50% of the relations and occasions cards, in around 60 of its stores will be Hallmark designs while the publisher’s brand will also feature on these shops’ frontage.
This is the latest development in Cardzone’s ambitious growth plan to double the business in the next three years. The group, headed up by founder Paul Taylor, now comprises 120 stores, including specialist card shops, Hallmark factory outlets and some standalone home fragrance stores.
Explaining the rationale behind the partnership with Hallmark, Paul told PG Buzz: “We feel that this is the right decision to grow our greeting card sales and give us a point of difference. Not only has the publisher’s product range improved immeasurably, but our experiences of the last two years since we took over the Hallmark factory outlets has proved that the Hallmark brand really resonates with the consumer.”
Commenting on the development, Ciaran Leonard, Hallmark’s director of independent sales said: “We are delighted by the show of faith from such a progressive, strong and growing retailer.”
The announcement coincides with Hallmark’s revamp of its Gold Crown programme, the full details of which are to be unveiled to retailers in a few weeks time.
“The Cardzone deal and the re-energising of our Gold Crown programme means we can really look forward to seeing the Hallmark brand being elevated on the high street, enabling us to leverage the brand in the consumer’s eyes.”
As part of the agreement between Cardzone and Hallmark, stores located in the vicinity of a committed Gold Crown retailer will not be included in the transformation.
“We are an independent retailer too and for the good of the industry, we want to help protect other independent retailers’ businesses,” said Paul.
Knowing the buying tastes of its customers, Jo Hancock, operations director of Cardzone has planned the displays (combining both Hallmark and other publishers’ designs). The new plans will be introduced into a dozen stores by the end of September, into another dozen by the end of October with a further roll out in the new year.