IG Design Group, the major greeting card, giftwrap and gifts AIM-listed company has reported a “challenging” first half of its financial year (to end of September), citing the “significant headwinds and supply chain limitations” as having impacted on turnover as well as crushing its margins. That said, the group’s turnover was actually up 11%, due to strong trading for the four months to July and it also managed to report a 11% increase in pre-tax profit, of $18.9 million.
Paul Fineman, ceo of IGDG told PG Buzz that while it had been very challenging due to supply issues as well rising costs, he was “relieved” that the group’s “Christmas deliveries were done and dusted.” That said, “the bad news is that in order to meet that demand, we had to sacrifice margin in order to give that level of service to our retail customers.”
Greeting cards, as part of IGDG’s Celebrations business, continued to perform well, including across the early Spring Season events of Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.
Paul said that the “order book” for its greeting card/Celebrations business is showing “growth” around the world. “Our Celebrations business has shown double digit growth. Demand is not the problem!”
Part of IGDG’s plans for 2022 is to bring the Niquea.D brand, the brainchild of Dominique Schurman, to the UK. This design-led brand, which is now part of the IGDG stable, has been introduced on greeting cards and other products in the States, in leading retailers such as Paper Source and Barnes and Noble.
There are also plans to further expand its sustainable Eco-nature range of greeting cards, stationery and giftwrapping, which debuted in the UK with Tesco, contributing to IGDG winning Tesco’s Supplier Partner Award for Sustainability. “We are very proud to have received this award, as it underlines that we are walking the walk on sustainability, not just talking the talk.”
Party products continue to form a meaningful part of the group’s activities. “Halloween was a strong season for us with further growth opportunities.”
On the licensed merchandise front, another sizable area for the group, the lack of new film-based properties saw the group concentrate on the more evergreen licensed properties, such as Disney and Peppa Pig.
Looking ahead Paul feels that the supply challenges will continue into next year. While there has been a “slight softening” of freight costs, domestic inland haulage remains extremely difficult and costs of raw materials are up double digit.
“It unfortunately appears that this is the new normal, for the time being anyway. As with many businesses, our current priority is managing the supply shortages and extreme inflationary pressures. Whilst in the short term we are not seeing an overall improvement in these dynamics, it is certain at some stage supply issues will improve and we will mitigate the cost pressures although it would be foolhardy to predict exactly when that will be,” adds Paul.
Top: Sales of IGDG’s arts and crafts products have reduced as the children are now back in school.