Christmas Rocks, Just Ask Selfridges

Despite the current heatwave, last week saw everyone rockin’ around the Christmas tree as Selfridges on London’s Oxford Street opened its rock’n’roll themed Christmas shop.

The first major retailer in the world to open its festive doors for early Christmas shoppers, the department store hired a leather-jacketed Father Christmas, dressed in black, who arrived wearing sunglasses and strumming a guitar!

The first Christmas roll out includes trees, baubles, glitter and tinsel, with the full festive selection going in store in September.

But for independent card retailers, it’s far too early, with most waiting until September/October to put out Christmas stock.

Dzo Dzo puts out cards in three stages with the first – Across the Miles - going out mid-September.
Dzo Dzo puts out cards in three stages with the first – Across the Miles – going out mid-September.

“Christmas, the season that people keep pushing to go out earlier and earlier,” says Pete Whiteman co-owner of Dzo Dzo, Woodbridge. “We tend to work in stages. The first stage goes out in mid-September is for the across the miles and named Christmas cards. This catches the people parcelling up packages to go land mail to USA and Australia, and the named cards catch the grandparents while still on holiday. The start of mass Christmas goes out around October 10, this covers the initial counter cards and the boxed offering. And the full Monty, goes out around 10 November.”

Pete continues: “Over the years the timing has changed, in that it always used to be after half term week to start Christmas. But this has strayed forward due to changing patterns on the High Street. Also the pace at which retailers such as Card Factory has made the public aware of the Christmas season earlier has changed our thoughts to be in line with the market.”

Beverley and John Heyworth at the recent Retas awards with their trophy for Best Greeting Cards Retailer Initiative.
Beverley and John Heyworth at the recent Retas awards with their trophy for Best Greeting Cards Retailer Initiative.

For Retas-award winning shop, Blue Rose Gifts & Balloons in Heywood, co-owner Beverley Heyworth has listened to customers who don’t want to see Christmas stock out too early. “We have learnt from customers that they get sick of seeing Christmas everywhere in the big stores too early and when they come in if we did it too early it would be ‘oh not you as well’. We put ours out the second or third weekend in October and ramp up after Halloween. We have the Christmas light switch on mid-November so all decorations are out for that, so the shop looks stunning and people are finally accepting it’s going to happen!”

Christmas stock goes out first week in October at Doodlebug and sells instantly.
Christmas stock goes out first week in October at Doodlebug and sells instantly.

Over at Doodlebug in Torfaen, South Wales, director Charlotte Little used to get Christmas out in the first week of September “but found that was too early and customers would complain saying the they didn’t want to deal with Christmas yet. We now put out Christmas stock in the first week of October which is better because we find it sells instantly.”

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