Jubilee jump in sales

Indie retailers report boost as Queen’s celebrations fill gap between Easter and Father’s Day

 

As the country turned red, white and blue to celebrate Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee, there was a mega boost for independent card and gift retailers who managed to get their hands on bunting, balloons, and party products.

“We did about £5,000 at retail just on jubilee items,” Cards & Gifts Dronfield co-owner Carl Dunne told PG Buzz. “When we ran out of bunting, my shop manager was telling people they could staple the red, white and blue napkins to ribbon so he was selling them that way too!”

After his first FSDU of party items sold out really quickly, Carl found himself constantly looking for new stock, with almost-daily visits to wholesalers Jacksons and BGC needed as the shop achieved much better-than-expected sales.

Above: Jubilee joy – Cards & Gifts co-owners Ollie Guise-Smith (left) and Carl Dunne (centre) were very happy spending their Sunshine Ticket with Five Dollar Shake’s Matt Genower
Above: Jubilee joy – Cards & Gifts co-owners Ollie Guise-Smith (left) and Carl Dunne (centre) were very happy spending their Sunshine Ticket with Five Dollar Shake’s Matt Genower

He added: “We started with one FSDU and that sold out so quickly we thought ‘bloody hell, we better get more stock’! We couldn’t get table coverings but we had giant flags so we were selling those for tablecloths.

“Ultimately this has very much filled the gap in the seasons before Father’s Day, although I haven’t seen very much in the way of card sales, it’s mainly been bunting, banners, flags, plates and napkins. Even when the Union Jack bunting flags and ribbons sold out, general bunting and other party items have really received a big boost thanks to the Jubilee.

“Union Jack napkin sales ran out very quickly so I started selling red, white and blue packs of napkins as a package instead which rocketed out the door. We then were packaging up latex red, white and blue balloons which we also struggled to find stocks off. In the end, if it was red white and blue and I could package it up in some way, shape or form to celebrate the jubilee I did, and my God have we seen amazing sales!”

In Malvern, Austin & Co owner Sean Austin said: “The jubilee was a perfect storm of the feel-good factor, half-term, pay day and the start of the Father’s Day sales. It was our best day since Mother’s Day, people were desperate to spend money, they were in that kind of mood. It was worth staying open on Thursday and Friday.”

It was the same for London’s Medici Gallery which is usually closed on bank holidays but manager Tim Reynolds was very happy with the decision to stay open: “We sold all our bunting, some lovely aprons from Victoria’s Eggs with London images on, and Talking Tables items – we won second place in the Talking Tables jubilee window competition, so I was very pleased! McLaggan did some lovely jubilee mugs, and Alison Gardner giftware. It was definitely worth staying open.”

Above: Ready to spend – having stayed open over the bank holiday Medici Gallery’s Tim Reynolds took his blinged-up Sunshine Ticket to PG Live
Above: Ready to spend – having stayed open over the bank holiday Medici Gallery’s Tim Reynolds took his blinged-up Sunshine Ticket to PG Live

The statement 15x8ft (4.5×2.5m) 300-balloon Union Jack at Highworth Emporium was definitely worth the effort as it brought lots of visitors in to the village of Highworth specifically to see the flag at the shop that’s well known locally for its bespoke balloon service.

“The response we had was amazing,” co-owner Aga Marsden told PG Buzz. “We had BBC Radio Wiltshire, the Swindon Advertiser and a local magazine coming to the shop to interview us and to take photos. We also received numerous compliments from customers, as well as on social media. People were amazed, and it was wonderful to see the joy on their faces!

“Tenants living in the three apartments above our shop said they’d never seen Highworth town centre so busy, with people coming into the town specifically to take a photo of the flag outside our shop. And, while it was important for us to decorate the shop properly for the jubilee, we also wanted to give something back to the community – and our Highworth and Swindon customers, who have all long supported us, especially over last two years.”

Above: Thumbs up – Aga Marsden (left) and shop manager Vicky Packford made a big effort at Highworth Emporium
Above: Thumbs up – Aga Marsden (left) and shop manager Vicky Packford made a big effort at Highworth Emporium

At Cranbornes in Shaftesbury and Dorchester, co-owners Anthony King and Karen Hardwick said: “It was a slow burner but, suddenly, when people realised it was actually happening, it was manic. We could have sold bunting like there’s no tomorrow. We had jubilee mugs and tea towels, and we could have reordered those, but it was getting stock that was the issue. We’ll make sure we’re more organised for the coronation!”

Social media made bunting the big seller for Sally Matson, whose initial 24-unit order for her Red Card store in Petworth turned into a massive 350-unit sale, and would have been more but suppliers Powell Craft ran out of stock.

“We’ve been sending bunting all over the country,” Sally explained, “I put it on my Instagram that we had this lovely bunting of alternate crowns and flags and people were ringing saying they’d pay the postage. Even though everyone knew the date, I think they didn’t prepare so it was all a last-minute rush.

Above: Cheers! – Cranbornes’ Anthony King and Karen Hardwick had a manic jubilee
Above: Cheers! – Cranbornes’ Anthony King and Karen Hardwick had a manic jubilee

“It was great, it was such a universal celebration, so now we have to think ahead to the coronation. It filled the gap between Easter and Father’s Day as we had the jubilee going on for quite some time.”

Paper Rose’s Special Delivery card was the top seller for both the seven-strong House Of Cards group in the Home Counties, and Presentation Cards & Gifts in Barrowford, where owner Andrea Pindar said: “Even though it was £4 it was selling well.

“I had helium balloons and foils, bunting and the big window decorations. I couldn’t get napkins, there was a supply issue, but I was using a beautiful purple ribbon to decorate our chocolates. A customer manufactures it for Harrods and provided me with a reel of this beautiful cotton ribbon which I’ll carry on using all year.”

House Of Cards co-owner Nigel Williamson admitted finding it difficult to get jubilee stock, with only small supplies of bunting, table covers, napkins and cups. He said: “People were coming in and asking us because no one else had anything either, if we’d had it we would have sold it. I under cooked it definitely.”

Above: Stock issues – Presentation Cards & Gifts’ Andrea Pindar and House Of Cards’ Nigel Williamson
Above: Stock issues – Presentation Cards & Gifts’ Andrea Pindar and House Of Cards’ Nigel Williamson

The British Retail Consortium confirmed the boost with its figures showing a 6.9% increase in footfall over the jubilee weekend, and a 17.1% increase over the whole week, compared with the average for May 2022.

Working with retail data company Sensomatic, the BRC said Thursday was the best performing day, with a 45.6% improvement in footfall, followed by Wednesday at 44.4%, compared with the average for May 2022, and High Streets saw the strongest performance at 3.1% growth.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson OBE said: “The public took to the streets for the Jubilee celebrations, with retail footfall enjoying significant improvements over the early parts of the long weekend. More people hit the shops, with many on the hunt for Jubilee decorations, garden accessories and new outfits. It was great to see so many people out celebrating and shopping at their favourite local destinations – a welcome boost for retail businesses reliant on store performance, particularly on the high street. We hope that the momentum can continue despite the ongoing economic turbulence.”

Andy Sumpter, retail consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, added: “Retailers experienced a jubilee jump in footfall as the celebrations prompted shopper traffic on the High Steet to rise. Whether it was people stocking up on supplies for the bank holiday weekend, attending street parties or using the extra public holidays to socialise with friends and family, retail benefited from welcome ambient footfall from the celebrations.”

Top: Jubilee fever hit the country with bunting a top seller

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