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Fenwick Moves To Central Buying, Abigail Ball Becomes Assistant Card Buyer Of The Group

After years of buying its greeting cards (and all manner of products) on an individual store basis, the Fenwick group of department stores has made the switch to centralised buying.

The first Fenwick store opened in Newcastle in 1882.
The first Fenwick store opened in Newcastle in 1882.

This means that as of September 1, all greeting cards for the Fenwick department store group will come under the auspices of a single buying team.

There are nine department stores in the Fenwick group. These are located in Newcastle, London’s Bond Street, Bracknell, Brent Cross, Canterbury, Colchester, Kingston, Tunbridge Wells and York.

The retailer has initiated the change to its buying in order to “modernise and reorganise the business” and centralise operations – previously each store ran autonomously. It is also planning to launch a website enabling online shopping for the first time.

Jenni Taylor (left) and Abigail Ball at The Henries judging recently.
Jenni Taylor (left) and Abigail Ball at The Henries judging recently.

While the head of greeting card buying has yet to be revealed, Abigail Ball has been proclaimed the assistant buyer for all greeting cards for Fenwick. Abigail was previously assistant buyer of everyday and Christmas cards for the group’s flagship Newcastle store as well as its York branch.

While Jenni Taylor, the popular former card buyer for Fenwick’s Bentalls and Bracknell stores was “incredibly sad” to be leaving the department store group for whom she has worked for the last 17 years, she is retaining her link with retailing of greeting cards, having joined the award-winning Tadworth-based independent retailer, Alligator Pear as its buying manager.

Some of the Alligator Pear team at Autumn Fair yesterday (left-right) owner Maggie Thornton, Jenni Taylor, Angie Pipe and Marzena Jones.
Some of the Alligator Pear team at Autumn Fair yesterday (left-right) owner Maggie Thornton, Jenni Taylor, Angie Pipe and Marzena Jones.

Jenni told PG Buzz: “I’m excited to be going to an independent business where I will have an opportunity to buy across many categories and brands that I haven’t had exposure to before.”

As she stresses although she is relishing the broader buying role, “Greeting cards are my absolute passion and this will be my first category to put my love in to! It’s an industry full of amazing designers and passionate publishers and it is great that I can continue to work in this industry at Alligator Pear.”

Alligator Pear, owned by Maggie Thornton (second right) won The Greats Independent Gift Retailer of the Year – Home Counties, South and South East
Alligator Pear, owned by Maggie Thornton (second right) won The Greats Independent Gift Retailer of the Year – Home Counties, South and South East
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