This ad will be closed automatically in X seconds.

Late rush is great

Festive fears become Christmas celebrations as Santa delivers for greetings retailers

 

Fears that Christmas would be a damp squib were allayed as Santa delivered for greetings retailers with the #Cardmitment campaign swinging into action.

Following the postal strikes of the year previous and continuing cost-of-living worries. stores of all shapes and sizes played their part in ensuring the card-sending message was loud and proud – here Hugs & Kisses, Bus Stop Cards & Gifts, Sainsbury’s and Cardies reveal all about their Christmas figures…

Above: Christmas was late but great at Hugs & Kisses
Above: Christmas was late but great at Hugs & Kisses

Caroline Ranwell, owner of Hugs & Kisses, Tettenhall

Christmas verdict: “For us it was late but great!”

Reveal all: “This year we were running slightly behind on last year but, once December arrived, the shop went crazy, we had our biggest day yet at Hugs & Kisses on the Saturday before Christmas, and we’ll now finish the year around 3% up on last year, which I’m more than happy with.”

Buying patterns: “Our single relations and captioned cards sold as well as ever, with no signs of slowing down. This year we sold even more open single Christmas cards which never ceases to amaze me. Some companies sold out, every year I order more and it still happens.

“Boxes were way better than last year which is no surprise as, thank goodness, we didn’t have any postal strikes. I was concerned some people who didn’t send cards last year due to the postal issues may not bother this year but, in Tettenhall, this certainly doesn’t seem to be the case. Charity packs were even better – we buy from four different companies and we’re almost sold out. That makes me happy, if I totally sell out then we didn’t have enough!

“We have a real mix of customers, generally we sell mostly the design-led card, small publishers and we’re well known in the area for this. This year we were asked for a lot more minor captions that we stock but not that many – ie grandson/daughter and their boyfriend/girlfriend or their husband/wife. I was even asked for niece and boyfriend!”

Your approach: “Other than bigging up the #Cardmitment campaign I don’t think we did much different to most years. I always put my Christmas cards out at the end of September, beginning of October then, as soon as Halloween is done, the Christmas window goes in, usually 1 November. We need to put our Christmas cards out early as it’s a huge job to get it spot on, with so many companies mixed together it takes almost a week to get it exactly right.

“I did get behind the #Cardmitment campaign, I thought it was absolutely brilliant and did what I could to keep up with it all, when the shop went crazy in December it was really difficult to keep up with all the social media – the shop floor has to come first.”

Above: Nigel Quiney’s boxes did very well
Above: Nigel Quiney’s boxes did very well

Star performers: “We sell Crumble & Core little earring cards really well, we had to place several reorders for these, they’re a beautiful little gift. As always, we sold a huge amount of money wallets across all price points.

“Customers come into Hugs & Kisses specifically to buy certain brands, Five Dollar Shake is probably the one we get asked for by name the most. Our bestselling single cards were from Five Dollar Shake, Rush Design, Wendy Jones-Blackett and White Cotton Cards. I think one of the reasons we do well with these four companies is that they all do the larger square cards which sell really well for relations, etc, at Christmas. Other companies that we did well with were Woodmansterne, Paperlink, Abacus and Ling Design.

“For charity packs we had Woodmansterne, Paperlink, Abacus and Ling and we have virtually nothing left! In boxes we did well with Ling, Abacus and Nigel Quiney, again I’m more than happy with the amount left as most of those will soon sell in this week’s sale. I like to do this to offer my customers a bargain but also so we have less to send back to those who offer sale or return.”

Hunch for 2024: “I feel really positive about 2024, after such a great Christmas I now want to ensure that next year is even better. Shopping local really seems to be what people want. Online they may buy the big things but for cards and little gifts they like to visit their local independent retailers.”

Above & top: Maura (far right) and the Bus Stop Cards & Gifts team at their festive celebration
Above & top: Maura (far right) and the Bus Stop Cards & Gifts team at their festive celebration

Maura Quinn, owner of Bus Stop Cards & Gifts, Castlederg

Christmas verdict: “Steady.”

Reveal all: “Christmas trade for us was steady, but no massive rush. Our card sales probably remained much the same as the previous year, however, sales of the more expensive cards were slower. Our sales of single cards were much better than boxed cards while charity multipack cards sold better than ordinary boxed cards for us.”

Buying patterns: “We noticed Thinking Of You cards, friends, Son & Daughter In Law and Daughter & Son In Law started to sell well in early December while, closer to Christmas, the Husband/Wife/One I Love captions sold better.”

Above: Santa’s sleigh stopped at Bus Stop Cards & Gifts
Above: Santa’s sleigh stopped at Bus Stop Cards & Gifts

Your approach: “We put our Christmas cards out in October at the request of several customers, however, sales were very small up until December.”

Hunch for 2024: “I’ve gone into the new year feeling nervous due to increased overheads and minimum wage increase etc. I will certainly have to review running costs, etc, but am hoping our card sales will continue to rise.”

Above: Abi Wilson (far right) with Sainsbury’s colleagues and members of the UKG team at the 2023 Henries
Above: Abi Wilson (far right) with Sainsbury’s colleagues and members of the UKG team at the 2023 Henries

Abi Wilson, head of buying and design celebrations, Sainsbury’s

Christmas verdict: “Positive.”

Reveal all: “We saw growth on the year. Customers really valued having the choice in single cards to find the one that represented most to their recipient. We are proud to support charity within boxed cards as part of wider charitable donations at Sainsbury’s.”

Hunch for 2024: “As ever, excited for the coming year and seeing how we can go further than ever on inspiring our customers through product which delivers on just what they need and want.”

Above: Little Ted posting out his charity-giving, smile-bringing, love-sending Christmas cards as Cardies’ Ponks squad joined in the festive spirit
Above: Little Ted posting out his charity-giving, smile-bringing, love-sending Christmas cards as Cardies’ Ponks squad joined in the festive spirit

Jo Sorrell, owner of Cardies in Stevenage

Christmas verdict: “We are still sending Christmas cards!”

Reveal all: “Trade was slightly up on last year. Many of our customers comment on the fact that they much prefer to use small independent businesses. They appreciate the service, the selection and the connection of the independent with their community”

Above: Tracks’ charity 30-packs flew out for Jo Sorrell
Above: Tracks’ charity 30-packs flew out for Jo Sorrell

Buying patterns: “Our family captions sell well with Wife being our bestseller as always. Mum comes in second place. Other captions that do well for us are son and daughter-in-law, daughter and son-in-law, from the dog, from the cat, grandson, and granddaughter.

“Singles always sell well for us, the important captions but also many of the more obscure captions too, which can’t be found easily elsewhere. Our charity packs are always popular but the boxes of 30 mixed designs from Tracks flew out.”

Your approach: “We used the #Cardmitment campaign in our social media. It’s definitely a useful message.

Hunch for 2024: “Bring it on 2024 – we’re ready for you!”

MORE NEWS
GCA RM Sale Feature Image
 
GCA reacts to protect industry interests as RM board ‘minded’ to accept new offer...
Gift Awards Feature Image
 
Outstanding Achievement for Hannah Dale and Rosie Made A Thing scores hat trick...
GCA agm rm Feature Image
 
Early bird tickets still available as Royal Mail boss announced for conference slot...
Bubblegum stuff Feature Image
 
The Apprentice finalist debuts fresh card collaboration at greeting card trade show...
Retas finalists 2 Feature Image
 
Retas’ awards finalists are springing about at news of being finalists...
 
International publisher takes on Linnapaperi, and hands over £60k charity donation...
Get the latest news sent to your inbox
Subscribe to our daily newsletter

The list doesn't exist! Make sure you have imported the list on the 'Manage List Forms' page.