Father’s Day sales met expectations

Traditional last-minute rush for many while some greetings retailers see best event yet

Any worries people had that the jubilee would take the gloss off Father’s Day have proved unfounded as sales have held up to expected levels.

Always a late purchase, the two weeks between the two events proved enough of a gap for people to remember to celebrate their dads following on from the Queen’s big party.

Some even bucked the late sales trend with Austin & Co owner Sean Austin declaring that in Malvern: “Father’s Day 2022 has to rank as one of our best yet in 11 years of trading!

“Often seen as the poor relation of the Spring Seasons, Father’s Day cards were being bought as soon as they went on display at the beginning of May – and this year, we took it up another notch with our window display.”

Taking inspiration from the incredibly popular Screwfix card design by Dandelion Stationery, Sean created a workbench and tools out of recycled cardboard boxes and the publisher’s founder Jo Wilson also provided the in-window POS.

Above: Great display – Dandelion Stationery's special Father’s Day poster took centre stage at Austin & Co
Above: Great display – Dandelion Stationery’s special Father’s Day poster took centre stage at Austin & Co

“To complete the story,” Sean added, “we decided to give 10% of all sales of Father’s Day cards to the Malvern Men’s Shed, one of many similar initiatives across the country that brings together men of all ages who want to share and learn new skills in a relaxed and friendly environment; or just have a cuppa and talk if they want to.

“As the Men’s Sheds Association says, men don’t talk face to face, they talk shoulder to shoulder. We’ll announce the grand total in a couple of weeks’ time when I’ll attend a session and hope to at least master a dovetail joint!”

Unsurprisingly the Screwfix card was Austin & Co’s bestselling Father’s Day card for 2022 as customers engaged with the window, with the local Best Dad In Malvern also performing well and – as Sean says, given that for Mother’s Day it’s nice cards and for dads people are happy to go more humorous or even borderline derogatory – Dean Morris Cards and Brainbox Candy’s Modern Toss designs were good sellers along with a number of Ohh Deer’s ranges.

Sean said: “Father’s Day rounded off a very successful Spring Season, even the jubilee week boosted sales and the decision to stay open throughout the bank holiday weekend paid off as what’s often seen as a last-minute purchase was brought forward.

“We were full of trepidation at the beginning of the year with what’s happening in the news on a global level but we’ve come through it unscathed and are still selling cards in even greater numbers, Though I’m looking forward to the next couple of months when I can just sedately sell everyday and occasion cards and not having to keep changing the shop around, until the beginning of September that is – Christmas is going early!”

Above: Social promotion – a jubilee window and Facebook marketing at Sincerely Yours
Above: Social promotion – a jubilee window and Facebook marketing at Sincerely Yours

At Sincerely Yours in Shenfield and Hornchurch, owner Kaye Thurgood was happy to have traded on target, with sales as expected for the period, and she said she was “extremely pleased, considering the weather”, as the extreme heat in the run-up to Sunday would usually result in a reduction in trade as “people don’t tend to shop in very hot weather”.

Kaye added: “We sold out of wordy, emotional cards quite quickly, this seems to be a growing trend across all the seasons, more noticeable since lockdowns. Also, humour is more in demand than ever, both seasonal and everyday, but it has to be good and very funny!

“The jubilee celebrations really have created a feel-good sense in both our towns and a lot of customers remarked on our efforts with decorations and window displays, more so than usual. We did focus all our window efforts on the jubilee with only a nod to Father’s Day, which we pretty much relied on our social media to promote, and I think that was the right decision.”

With spring seasons now over for another year, Sincerely Yours is reflecting on its best yet showing overall, with Mother’s Day sales the main contributor, and the indie noticed an overall increase in footfall in the shops with a reduction in online sales.

“We’re seeing a lot more social media engagement,” Kaye explained. “Customers very focused in store, they seem to know what they’re looking for more so than ever – and they want quality, that’s why they come to us, and they seem happy to pay for it, for now anyway! Let’s see how that plays out in a few months.”

Above: Last minute – John Lewis’ Claire Taylor was on the edge of her seat
Above: Last minute – John Lewis’ Claire Taylor was on the edge of her seat

For John Lewis, Blandfords and Paddock Wood Cards, the traditional late Father’s Day rush kicked in – “A very last-minute purchase this year with significant sales still taken on the day itself,” explained John Lewis gift collections, stationery and cards buyer Claire Taylor, “the buying peak being even later in the event left us all on the edge of our seats!

“The jubilee, the extended bank holiday weekend and the heatwave all contributed to customers’ minds being elsewhere. Top sellers featured a plethora of pups showing that dogs really are man’s best friend.”

Andrew Blandford, co-owner of Blandfords in Ledbury and Broadway, commented: “Despite putting out our displays earlier than usual, our Father’s Day card sales happened, as usual in the run up to the event. It was ever thus!

“Father’s Day was as expected, late as ever, but sales were at a normal level with Woodmansterne designs faring very well.  I don’t think the event suffered at all by it taking place a couple of weeks after the Platinum Jubilee celebrations this year.”

Above: Late rush – Blandfords’ Ledbury store
Above: Late rush – Blandfords’ Ledbury store

And it was a good event for Nicky Goodman, owner of Paddock Wood Cards, Tonbridge, although mainly on the last three days leading up to Sunday – which seems to be a pattern for her area.

“Everyone is leaving shopping last-minute now,” Nicky explained. “Lots of people waited till after the jubilee to think about Father’s Day. We did really well and, although footfall is down, people are spending more so our takings are still in the region of what they should be – fingers crossed!

Above: Quick change – Paddock Wood Cards turned their window around fast
Above: Quick change – Paddock Wood Cards turned their window around fast

“We’ve found all the seasons are last minute this year and I think it will be for some time.  Everyone seems much busier and to have other things on their mind. People are more demanding, we have lots more deliveries, more than ever for balloons, and take a lot more orders through our website and social media.

“The jubilee was good and we were very busy with balloon deliveries and local events but it didn’t make up for the closure of the shop for a few days, although we did make the most of it and it was good to celebrate with everyone again. We did a fab jubilee window and changed it straight after for Father’s Day but we advertised on social media.

“We had a lovely street party as, if the lockdown has taught us anything, it’s that life’s too short so we made the most of it and still did lots of jubilee and Father’s Day balloon deliveries too!”

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