“Shopping as it should be!” exclaimed Leona Janson-Smith, co-owner of Postmark, the South London-based card retailing group on Wednesday morning (December 2), an hour after reopening following Lockdown 2. “Online and Click & Collect has kept us busy, but it is not the same as having people in the shops being able to select real cards and gifts. It’s been fantastic to see people laughing, chatting and buying lots!” she added.
Click below to hear Leona’s jubilant message…
Up in the Midlands, Mark Rees, managing director of the Penmark group is cock-a-hoop about the early buying signs in his high street stores. “The first day was rip-roaring, it felt like Christmas Eve in some of our stores – sales were well over 100% up on what we normally expect.”
Maggie Wynn, owner of Just Cards down in Honiton in Devon, has had her ‘fingers and toes crossed’ for the last three weeks hoping that her customers would hang on with their Christmas card spending until she was allowed to re-open.
“It has just been torture being closed, it was so unfair,” said Maggie. “However, it has been absolutely lovely to see so many loyal customers in the last few days – who have all been keen to tell me that they have waited for us to re-open in order to support us,” Maggie added.
Customers wasted no time in coming out in force for a festive spending spree in Lark’s card and lifestyle stores, located in the London suburbs.
“We felt a bit anxious prior to reopening as to how customers would react, but we needn’t have worried,” Grace Stone, manager of Lark’s Balham store told PG Buzz. “In the first few hours we had not only seen lots of our regular customers, but lots of new ones too, who were really keen to buy their Christmas cards, baubles and gifts.”
Click below to hear it from Grace herself…
In a nearby Oliver Bonas branch store manager Jordan Convery was smiling broadly under her mask. “It’s been absolutely gorgeous to see customers coming in so excited and enthusiastic. In the first hour and half alone, we have seen five of our best customers already as well as lots of others coming in to buy cards and gifts. What has been lovely is to be told that we have been missed.”
Click below to see and hear Jordan…
Adding perspective Mark Rees said: “It does feel so good to be back in the game, and with the tills ringing, but city centre stores need to catch up somewhat. There’s still a lot of ground to gain in a short period of time, but is a good start.”
While the clock is at least now ticking positively for card retailers in England, with many extending opening hours and pulling out the stops on promotions and initiatives, thousands of card retailers in Scotland, as well as all in Northern Ireland, are having to sit it out until December 11 for them to be allowed to reopen, having to contend with online and ‘Click & Collect’ options for now.
Top: A busy scene inside a Clintons’ store in Uxbridge on the day of the re-opening.