After all the doom and gloom dished out by the media in the Christmas run-up, there were serious concerns we were in for more of a turkey than a cracker on the Christmas card front.
Here, Cardzone, Paperchase and House of Cards share their Christmas trading stories.
Paul Taylor, managing director of Cardzone, which trades from 130 stores:
Overall verdict: “Showed the resilience of Christmas cards”
How did you fare?: “Our single Christmas cards performed strongly and we ended 2% up and packaged cards didn’t even better.”
Mitigating Circumstances: “Footfall in the high street was down 7.5% over the six week period in the run up to Christmas. Given this, we were pleased with the results.”
Changing Buying Habits: “What is pleasing, by our performance as well as those of other card retailers is how resilient Christmas card sending is in the UK.
Star Performers: “Hallmark, Carte Blanche, IC&G, Words ‘n’ Wishes and UKG.”
Approach for Christmas 2019: “We will be looking to improve the way we cater for regional differences on captions such as mam, nan and gran.”
Frances Burkle, product director of Paperchase:
Overall verdict: “We were really pleased with Christmas performance, our customers were feeling festive despite what else might be happening!”
How did you fare?: “Our three Christmas categories – cards, wrap and decorations – all performed above our expectations and ahead of the previous year.”
Mitigating circumstances: “The doom and gloom in the news certainly did not help the buildup and I think Black Friday continues to confuse customers – are there good deals to be had, is it online only etc. I think actually in 2018, there were great deals for the customer and many ran on through to Christmas.”
Changing buying habits: “We didn’t see any significant changes – we continue to see the growth with our single cards. Choosing that special card continues to resonate strongly with our customers and we were pleased that we grew our offer this year.”
Star Performers: “Single cards, particularly family cards. And in Christmas decorations, our Rainbow tree was an absolute winner!”
Miles Robinson, co-owner of House of Cards, six shops in the Home Counties:
Overall verdict: “Relief.”
How did you fare?: “We were 3% up in revenue terms for the six weeks to 29 December. Our Christmas singles were just under 0.5% up but our boxes/packs were 5.3% up.
Advents, calendars, and Christmas gifting performed well for us this year.”
Changing buying habits: “We saw a small shift towards cost saving by buying boxes/packs.
Buying was later than ever and Sundays in December this year were notably better than the previous year.”
Star performers: “Lucilla Lavender, Rosie Made a Thing, Second Nature, Tracks, Wendy Jones-Blackett and of course Wrendale!
In our boxes/packs Woodmansterne, Noel Tatt, Museums & Galleries and Ling Design all performed really well.”