Indies talk turkey: Bentleys and Madison

Midlands customers make the most of happy events


The Christmas spirit is growing as big day grows every closer so greeting card and gift retailers are busy encouraging the festive frenzy as this season is so important.

The cost-of-living crisis, Royal Mail strikes, and fears over energy prices and possible power cuts may be putting a bit of a dampener on spirits generally, but indies are banking on folk wanting to enjoy that famous Christmas cheer.

Above: The main Bentleys store in Stourport
Above: The main Bentleys store in Stourport

Continuing our series, PG Buzz talks turkey with retailers about their hunches for this year’s Christmas trade and the approach they’re taking. Today, it’s the turn of Stephen and Julie McHale,  co-owners of the four Bentleys and Madison stores in Solihull, Stourport-On-Severn, and Harborne…

Christmas hunch: “As with most retailers in our industry we’re reliant on Christmas sales and are hoping that sales remain strong through this period.

“Festive trade started for us in its usual manner with a slow build through October with anticipation for November. There’s always a psychological awakening that Christmas is coming after the clocks change and bonfire night has passed.

“Cost-of-living difficulties are constantly in the media and, historically through difficult times, we find customers make the most of happy events like Christmas so, fingers crossed, we will have a busy festive period with happy customers enjoying the season. We are ready, prepared and hopeful for a strong positive shop local Christmas!”

Above: Bentleys and Madison comprises four stores
Above: Bentleys and Madison comprises four stores

Your approach: “We’ve dabbled with some Christmas products in our window displays but these will become more prominent over the next week or so. We always try to balance having enough/too much Christmas on display in October. And it is a balancing act with Christmas cards as, if we reduce the everyday offering to make space for Christmas cards, then our customers keep asking for everyday cards!”

Affecting factors: “So far, we haven’t noticed any affect in sales from either the Royal Mail strikes or the cost of stamps so, hopefully, this will continue. Our greeting card sales are still strong and customers appreciate the ranges we offer.”

Top: Stephen and Julie McHale are ready for Christmas

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