Card Factory has waited a long time for Jo Bennett to join as its studio director, but now the former Hallmark creative exec has even more reason to make her presence felt as the value card retailer has just won the Best Speciality Retailer Award in the Retail Week Awards 2018.
“It’s great to have finally started!” exclaimed Jo Bennett, who left Hallmark to join Card Factory and was held to her year’s contract before joining the Warrington-based retail company. “The studio are a fab team – talented and hardworking, everyone has made me feel very welcome. Very excited about the future – there is some excellent product coming through at the moment, the first samples of Christmas 18 are in and looking fabulous, and we are about to launch new counter card ranges and gift bags in store which look great. There are so many opportunities to build on the Card Factory success with further developments for the future!” said Jo.
Following something of a pattern, it was officially announced that Jo was joining Card Factory a couple of days after the retailer had won The Retas 2017 Best Specialist Multiple award last July and now news that she has actually started comes shortly after Card Factory scooped the award at the retail industry’s top awards event.
Card Factory beat off tough competition from Moonpig, Birchbox, Conviviality Retail, Dreams, The Entertainer, Holland & Barrett, The Perfume Shop, Screwfix and TM Lewin to take the Retail Week Speciality Retailer of the Year award.
“This is recognition of the ongoing success of the Card Factory business and for the team who built it and for those who are continuing to work within the business to ensure it remains as relevant in the future as it is today,” was how Karen Hubbard, ceo of Card Factory summed up the accolade to PG Buzz. “It is a fantastic achievement and great to be recognised by the retail industry, especially when you look at the past winners and the list of nominees in this category. I am incredibly proud to lead such an amazing business and the award is a recognition for every single colleague right across the business who are dedicated to playing their part in bringing quality and value to our customers to help them celebrate their life moments.”
As one judge observed: “There are so many people selling cards and gifts now, and there have been so many new entrants online, but still Card Factory has managed to stay profitable and keep market share.”
The judging panel also summed up that in what is an ‘extremely busy market, not only has Card Factory continued to dominate, but it has also disrupted.’
Card Factory was described as ‘a specialist with scale, reflected in its near ubiquitous presence on the high street.’
Operating in the UK and Ireland, the retailer now has more than 900 stores, employs 7,000 people and hires a further 6,000 during peak season. It accounts for 32.6% of the overall market by volume and is still expanding. Moving into new lines, such as gifts and candles, has enabled the retailer to increase average spend.
Key to Card Factory’s success has been its vertically integrated model, which allows the retailer to control costs and handle operations from product design, sourcing and printing, through to warehousing and distribution.
Card Factory was also up for the Best Value Retailer award, as was The Works (of which Card Factory co-founder Dean Hoyle is a significant shareholder and chairman). This category was won by Aldi.
Commenting specifically on Jo Bennett joining the Card Factory team, Karen said that Jo “has already started to influence the studio. Stuart [Middleton, creative director] is delighted to have her by his side -they are a formidable design duo!”
* Card Factory’s full year results are out on 10 April.