Indies talk turkey: House of Cards

Slow start in Home Counties but Nigel’s confident Christmas will happen

 

While this should be the golden quarter for greeting card retailers the current economic issues look set to make this festive season unlike all others, so PG has asked leading stockists for their hunch on how their Christmas stocking will pan out.

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: House of Cards has a good selection of affordable gifts for this Christmas
Above: House of Cards has a good selection of affordable gifts for this Christmas

Continuing our series, PG Buzz talks turkey with retailers on this year’s Christmas trade and the approach they’re taking. Today, it’s the turn of Nigel Williamson, co-owner of House of Cards, with seven shops based in the Home Counties…

Christmas hunch: “This time last year Christmas product was selling well. Back then there was a real fear that the Omicron strain of Covid would cause another lockdown so customers were spending earlier than normal. This year we have a backdrop of economic crisis and a government in meltdown so Christmas has had a slow start but we remain confident it will happen!”

Above: Nigel Williamson (left) with Postmark’s Mark Janson-Smith at The Henries judging in August
Above: Nigel Williamson (left) with Postmark’s Mark Janson-Smith at The Henries judging in August

Your approach: “We have planned as normal, buying lots of lovely product that we hope customers cannot resist. Our buying budgets have all been based on last year’s good figures so we may find these to be a bit ambitious, but you need to have a positive head on when placing orders so far in advance.”

Above: Some of the boxed cards on sale at House of Cards
Above: Some of the boxed cards on sale at House of Cards

Affecting factors: “The postal strikes have caused lots of issues with the online sales and all we can hope for is a resolution very soon because, without everyone working together, we’re all losers. High Street retailers, however, may well benefit if the postal dispute continues much longer.

“The cost-of-living squeeze will make it harder for us to get the tills ringing, but we have a great range of affordable gifts so maybe people trading down from higher-priced gifts will help us. Soft toy sales have been very high in the past year and we have high hopes for sales of home fragranced products and candles, especially if the lights go out!”

Sustainability check-in: “Suppliers are changing products to make them more sustainable and this year the Christmas offering has less glitter and the plastic packaging has been reduced and this trend looks set to continue.”

This comment originally appeared in Progressive Greetings magazine’s November edition alongside viewpoints from other retailers.

Top: There’s a lot riding on the coming season not being a turkey for UK greeting card retailers

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