Cardzone has just acquired Unit 7, the Manchester city centre store that was formerly owned by Andrea and David Pinder. This is the sixth independent retail card shop that the Nottinghamshire-based specialist multiple has acquired in the last two months, meaning it is now trading from 135 stores in the UK and Ireland.
The Unit 7 deal follows hot on the heels of Cardzone’s acquisition of Tidings in Cirencester (formerly owned by Kim Ralph); Just So in Malvern (formerly owned by Jane Knowles); Occasions in Nailsea (formerly owned by Peter Waring); Occasions in Oadby (formerly owned by Gerald Ingrams) and The Card Shop in Porchester (formerly owned by Jane Chandler).
Last February (2018) Paul Taylor, founder and md of Cardzone stated the retailer’s ambitious plans to double the size of the business over the next three years and made no bones about the fact that acquiring strong indies would be likely to form part of this growth strategy.
“Good independents are and have been the lifeblood of the card world, but we understand that many are now looking for a way out due to the rising costs and increasingly tough trading times,” Paul told PG Buzz last February. Elaborating he said that if it was the right fit (a basic qualifier being that a store’s annual sales had to be £200K or above) an indie could sell their shop to Cardzone as a going concern. “A good price will be paid and existing staff can retain their jobs,” he promised.
Since then Cardzone has acquired the Scottish based minigroup Card & Gift/Something Special mini-group of four shops in Scotland last June as well as the Cardland shops based in Ireland.
Of the latest clutch of acquisitions, Just So’s Jane Knowles is remaining involved on a part time basis while Kim Ralph is helping out until Christmas. Kim is continuing to own and run her Tidings store within Westonbirt Arboretum.
While no longer involved with Unit 7, Andrea Pinder is now focusing her “energy and passion for this wonderful retail industry” by continuing her other retailing interest, her Presentation Cards and Gift Store in Barrowford Lancashire.
James Taylor, trading director of Cardzone explains that the addition of these half dozen new stores joining the multiple’s portfolio “not only strengthens its presence in terms of numbers of stores, but also widens our breadth of store types.” As James elaborates, “As the acquisition of Tidings and Unit 7, for example shows we now have several more stores aimed at the more premium end.” James also confirmed that there are several additional more likely acquisitions in the pipeline. “We are continuing to look to grow and offer an ideal sale opportunity for many independents who are perhaps looking to retire or struggling in current climate.”
Reinforcing Cardzone’s commitment to the sector, Paul added: “We still see lots of potential out there, you just have to get your head round the fact that there is a less consumer footfall so you need to really woo them with products and service”.
Top: Paul Taylor, founder of Cardzone is on an ambitious expansion plan.