Home Counties retail group, House of Cards is certainly doing its bit to energise Christmas cards sending, starting with its own staff.
As part of its support for the Festive Friday initiative, the award-winning retailer has covered the cost of the postage on some 924 Christmas cards the staff from the six branches and warehouse in the group wrote to their friends and family.
Miles Robinson, who co-owns House of Cards with Nigel Williamson has been a big supporter of the GCA-instigated Festive Friday initiative ever since it was first introduced several years ago as a way of kickstarting Christmas card sending.
“Being passionate about cards and Christmas we thought Festive Friday was a brilliant idea and wanted to support it,” Miles told PG Buzz. “While it’s never going to be a big consumer event I think it’s important as an industry that we all do our bit to promote the sending of cards,” he added.
House of Cards set Festive Friday (November 30) as the deadline for all its staff (some 58 people, including Saturday staff) to have their Christmas cards written and these then make their way to House of Cards’ central warehouse for bulk posting, the cost of which is covered by the retailer.
“We did 924 Christmas cards in total this year which is not a bad effort from our team,” says Miles. “It’s extremely popular with the staff and over the past couple of years we’ve seen volumes increase, which is great.”
As to how he feels Christmas trade will stack up in the stores this year, Miles is able to draw on his many decades of retailing experience.
“Christmas will still happen of that we can be sure, so even if sales end up being down, we will all have to adapt to that.
Time, money and uncertainty are all factors affecting trade,” says Miles in summary.
Echoing the views shared by many, Miles highlights the biggest problem facing the high street is lack of footfall. “According to some stats I’ve read, 40% of retail will have moved online by 2020. This is monumental and is one reason why retail is suffering so much.
Business rates are not fit for purpose, plus way above inflation increases for the NLW and the introduction of pensions, are all straws that test the camel’s back. The main factor affecting bricks and mortar retailers’ Christmas trade is footfall/online.
We are all doing things differently and it’s changing fast, but overall we’re embracing the challenge!”
As part of this embrace, the House of Cards’ branch teams are all competing to see who comes top in a series of internal incentives, including the highest customer spend, who upsells the most stamps, the best window display and, not forgetting the best Christmas jumper!
* For more on Miles’ views on this year’s Christmas, see PG’s December edition.