“Our trade in single Christmas cards (including relations) has really started to motor in the last few weeks,” Lisa Rutherford, John Lewis & Partners’ buyer for greeting cards, stationery and seasonal events told PG Buzz. As last year’s Christmas singles trade was record breaking for JL&P, Lisa said the retail group had been “expecting growth,but fairly small growth”. However, exceeding expectations, Lisa said “the double digit increases we have had in the last two weeks are very welcome indeed!”
In the grocery sector, the Christmas card sales in Retas award-winner Sainsbury’s is also off to a good start. “I am really happy to report that customers have responded really well to Christmas!” summed up buyer Carly Pearson.
Meanwhile indies too are reporting encouraging signs of an early pick-up. Sally Matson, owner of Red Card in Petworth said that the “unseasonably warm weather in October” did little to foster a festive feeling as, in her view, “You just can’t get into the spirit of Christmas if you’re wearing a t-shirt!” however she says that “the real buying has started much earlier than usual – really taking off in November.” Sally reports “much higher sales of single cards and card packs with six weeks to go than we have previously seen.”
Midlands-based retailer, Roger Eames, co-owner of Celebrations in Stourbridge said that while “business is tough, single Christmas cards are selling well, but sales of boxes are slow.”
Further north, Marion Flaherty, co-owner of Best Wishes in Garstang reported that at odds with the climatic conditions “things are hotting up for Christmas, with sales of cards and gifts moving well.”
Heidi Sticka, co-owner of Little Paperie in Ashbourne in Derbyshire predicts Christmas trade is “definitely going to be a rush at the end” but has grasped opportunities to bag some early festive sales, including by participating in the Fabulous Places Derbyshire Christmas Market on 9-10 November. “We had a fantastic two days, sold out of a lot of Christmas lines. Everyone there was definitely in full Christmas buying mode which restored our faith in retail and that we are doing something right!”
Having sold a lot of The Art File charity Christmas card packs, Heidi has already placed a re-order. She is also hopeful that the next few weeks will see “a boom in independent shopping. I’ve seen lots of people sharing messages about shopping local/small/independent this Christmas so we are hoping that’s what a lot of people will do!”
- Don’t forget that it’s Festive Friday this week, the GCA instigated industry initiative to kickstart Christmas card sending.
Top: Excitable Edgar is the star of John Lewis’ Christmas advert this year.