Indie retailers report good sales as sunshine bathed country for holiday weekend
Eggs-cellent sunshine bathed most of the UK over the Easter break and it was also a pretty sunny time for greeting card retailers with a whole host of independents reporting good sales, helped by being able to clear stock left over from the lockdowns.
“Easter seasonal sales were up since April 2019 which is great news,” said Hannah Rudder, co-owner of Dee’s Cards, Leighton Buzzard. “We were up around 25%.
“This could be down to a couple of factors – the first could be that this is the earliest we have ever put Easter out on the shelves, they were on sale for almost eight weeks and this made customers buy earlier then they normally would. When they did run out of their multi-packs they had time to buy more and still have time to post them.”
At Wishes Of Cudworth, Barnsley, owner Julia Keeling was in full-on pun mode after enjoying lots of chocolate and a reasonable time in the shop: “While I wouldn’t say it was the most egg-cellent of Easters, it definitely wasn’t no yolk! After being closed last year, it was nice to be open and see people being egg-cited about getting together for the long bank holiday weekend (no more egg puns for now on, I promise).
“Our lovely customers said they struggled to find Easter decorations or gift bags on the general High Street this year so they looked to shop more locally and this helped us. Footfall was good for what can be one of our quieter seasons.
“We sold lots of religious greeting cards and packs of Easter cards did well too from Budget Greeting Cards. Wishing Well and Abacus Cards were a popular choice, plus money wallets did well as not everyone wants to buy chocolates for their nephews, nieces etc. That said, on the gift front our new Guppy’s Chocolates were a yummy treat and a good counter pick-up.
“We sold out of Easter gift bags and wrap was low too. Surprisingly, family captions cards were not as strong for us this year. All in all, a good Easter and after the difficulties of last year, another positive step forward. Here’s to an even more egg-stravagant Easter next year. Sorry, I couldn’t resist one last one!”
At House Of Cards’ seven shops in the Home Counties, Wrendale Designs and Woodmansterne’s Easter cards did well, both instore and online. Of this year’s Easter trading period, co-owner Nigel Williamson said: “The sales in our tills alone have been just above budget which is a good sign. Online sales in 2021 were very good because the High Street was closed at Easter and this year we kept around half those sales.
“We always have a good range of single Easter cards and packs and as this is now all supplied by our central distribution so we have better data to use for further improving our offering for the future. Easter gift bags were popular so we’ll expand the offer for next year.
Threads Of Harpenden cite Ling Design, Tracks Publishing and Think Of Me as their bestsellers for the third Spring Season event of 2022, with owner Lara Wares adding: “Easter was good – it was a huge relief to be open, and to be able to finally sell stock that we bought three Easters ago! We sold out of most lines, so I think customers were as happy as us to finally be able to celebrate with family again.”
Easter was good too for Alison Russell, owner at Conway Cards, Garstang: “We were very busy leading up to the bank holiday weekend, probably helped by schools breaking up early so there were lots of tourists in town. We sold out of Easter gift bags and got lots of compliments on our Easter window display.”
And Jo Barber, owner at No 14 Ampthill, was pretty chuffed with how the event went too: “This Easter made up for previous years, in that we had a lot of unsold cards from lockdown Easters and pretty much sold out.
“We benefited from stronger margins as wholesale prices had increased since ordering, and the warm weather leading up to Easter produced a strong turnout and a huge feel-good factor.”
Easter trade was very good at Highworth Emporium, Highworth, where co-owner Aga Marsden confirmed: “Footfall was not necessarily higher, but there were a lot of big spenders, and we did especially well with Jellycat bunnies and Gisela Graham’s Easter/Spring collection.”
“We always do a big window display and this year’s was really well received with lots of positive comments from customers. And, as with every year, we ran an Easter raffle with main prize being a 2.5kg chocolate bunny. This year we were raising money for the DEC Ukraine Appeal, and our customers’ generosity completely overwhelmed us. In total, we raised £1000. So, overall, it was a very good Easter indeed and it’s been a very strong April so far.”
Over at Hugs & Kisses in Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, owner Caroline Ranwell confirmed online sales held steady, but it was her gift shop that was really busy.
“Easter trade was surprisingly good this year,” she said, “which is wonderful after the terrible time we had last year. People were mainly buying our gorgeous Jellycat bunnies as well as small Easter gifts, Easter candles, Easter tree decorations and children’s Easter bags, and, obviously, we sold a huge amount of chocolate too!
“I always put an Easter window in with an Easter tree with lots of decorations on, and, of course, lots of bunnies and chicks. We have more on display inside the shop too. We ran an Easter competition on Facebook and Instagram, with a prize of a £50 voucher to spend instore or online.”
One retailer who didn’t do as well as he had hoped was Paul Cheshire, director of &Quirky in Berkhamsted with supply chain issues reducing the possible trade: “We didn’t really have many Easter cards because we ordered some but only a few designs arrived. However, the ones we did receive from Stop The Clock sold well though!
“We also managed to get a local lady – Helen Downey who goes by the name Creative H – to do some designs for us when our full orders didn’t arrive. They were very nice and did sell very well too.”
Top: Sunshine sales – &Quirky, Wishes Of Cudworth and Hugs & Kisses had colourful Easter displays