There may be general feelings of uncertainty, but Christmas will happen – and John Lewis & Partners’ assistant buyer of cards, giftwrap and seasonal events Lizzie Batchelar shares the insights into the early Christmas uptake at the department store group.
How’s Christmas trade faring?: “Christmas cards are performing brilliantly for us at the moment. We are currently tracking at +11% on last year. It’s great that customers are getting into the festive spirit already!”
Have you noted any changes in customers’ buying habits: “While my buying remit does not include packs of cards, I know that our single sales are outperforming boxes and cellopacks. Brands that always perform strongly for us in the Christmas category are Woodmansterne, Five Dollar Shake and Susan O’Hanlon. It’s also brilliant to see Caroline Gardner and Rosie Made A Thing performing strongly in this category.”
What’s Christmas approach: “We are really excited about Christmas this year and customers’ response to some of the newness we have introduced. As from November 17, for the first time, we expanded our relations’ category into more branches.
Our Christmas advert has launched which always drives customers into branches and gets everyone in the Christmas spirit.
This year we are running even more experiences in branches, including workshops and demonstrations, with specific experience desks in some of our stores. We always receive great customer engagement from these experiences as well as our My JL Events, and it is great to drive all the additional footfall to branch. As a category, cards always benefit from this additional traffic.”
What Christmas card caption action have you seen so far: “We are excited to offer ‘From the cat’ and ‘From the dog’ Christmas cards this year from Cardmix. The dog caption has outperformed the cat so far (selling almost double!), but both have been popular with our customers and personally, I have also bought a couple to send from my dogs!”
Who/what do you hope to find in your own personal Christmas stocking?: “My mum always ensures I have a Terry’s Chocolate Orange in the bottom of my stocking, so I always look forward to that on Christmas morning!”
Top: John Lewis is enjoying a good festive trade.