Mark Janson-Smith, co-owner of Postmark (the award-winning mini-group of four shops) in London reveals how Christmas panned out.
Performance: “Christmas trade was excellent this year, with like-for-like sales across the board up 10%, which is far higher than we expected and we are absolutely delighted. There was probably potential for a little more as we had sold out of so many lines in the last weekend, but it’s that fine balance of too little/too much stock.”
Buying patterns: “Our Christmas packs rallied late on, and, despite dropping a couple of shelves of packs, sales ended almost identical to 2016. Strangely there was a drop in Charity packs sales, which was picked up by the non-charity packs. Singles continue to get stronger and ended up 15% higher than last year.”
Mitigating circumstances: “Early on the weather played a part and we definitely noticed a drop when the weather was bad (although we were a lot luckier than many parts of the country) but the later on it got, it really didn’t make too much difference. Christmas falling on a Monday meant it felt like customers had an extra weekend, and, as expected, the final week was very strong.”
Star products: “Special single cards, something a little different, did really well for us as customers continue to buy a few less cards but spend more on the ones that they do buy. Advent calendars rallied again for us this year after being a little flat last year. There is still huge demand for the more traditional Advent calendars.”
Christmas 2018: “We won’t change too much with our buying as it is still working as it is. We will continue to invest in Christmas packs but will keep levels around the same. They still make up just over 50% of or card sales. It will be interesting when singles overtake them, which I don’t think will be too far away now. The quest for those special single cards continues to make sure we stand out, so I see a bigger investment in them, and also roll wrap, which we continue to increase our sales on year-on-year.”