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Morrisons’ Buying Manager Lucy Wilson’s Anticipation For BLE Next Week

As part of her commitment as a delegate in Brand Licensing Europe’s 2021 Retail Mentoring Programme, Lucy Wilson, buying manager for greeting cards, party products and tableware at Morrisons, shares some insights ahead of next week’s licensing trade show.

BLE takes place from 17-19 November at ExCel London. Register to attend the event here.

Above: Lucy Wilson, buying manager for greeting cards, party products and tableware at Morrisons.
Above: Lucy Wilson, buying manager for greeting cards, party products and tableware at Morrisons.

Tell us about your role at Morrisons

“I am currently the buying manager of greeting cards, wrapping paper, tableware, all party products, including balloons.”


How are your Christmas sales performing and what is your hunch on top sellers?

“Wrapping paper and gift presentation are over performing more than the cards right now. I feel because people are seeing friends and family in-person again, rather than posting presents, there is more of a focus on how gifts look.

We have some 5ft air-filled balloons for Christmas, a nutcracker, snowman and a Christmas tree and we are already seeing early signs that they are going to fly out.”

Above: Partyware and greeting cards are displayed close together in Morrisons’ stores.
Above: Partyware and greeting cards are displayed close together in Morrisons’ stores.

What design themes and licensed brands selling well in your area at Morrisons?

“We have three range resets throughout the year on our core range, as we want to make sure there is regular newness for our customers, and then we have our seasonal range. In our kids’ core range we are seeing unicorns and dinosaurs as our evergreens while L.O.L., Disney Princess, Spiderman and PAW Patrol are all big sellers.

Party is a particularly exciting category to be involved in currently as balloons are really popular. We have introduced affordable balloon arch kits in many different colourways that our customers love.”


When you joined the Retail Mentoring Programme, how much did you already know about licensing?

“I had dealt with licensed products in health and beauty. I worked with quite a few big brands on collaborations and on licensing, particularly in gifting and bath care. I didn’t get involved massively, it was more a case of the suppliers coming to me, proposing the licences that they know work and we took their lead on that, but now I know there is way more to it than that.

You don’t realise how big an opportunity it can be until you actually understand how licensing works, not only with the product suppliers [the licensees], but also the licensors who own the brands. It has totally opened my eyes to how big an opportunity it is and how much goes into it.”


How will what you’re learning impact on Morrisons’ licensing programme?

“I feel like starting this programme has come at a really good time as we have a lot of exciting things coming up next year in terms of what licences we are seeing come through. We have already kicked off some collaborations around what licences to go after next year.

Across the Morrisons business, all the buyers that are involved in licensed products have all got together to understand what are the big licences that we are going after in all our different areas and how we then pull that together instore to execute it in a way in order that our customers know we’ve got confidence in those products.

So, if we have five different product areas that are all backing the licence, if we merchandise all the products together that is going to encourage our customers to pick up more than one, which will drive sales for us.”


Why are you looking forward to attending BLE?

“Other than the networking side, it will be amazing to talk to other buyers in the industry and to widen that network as well as to understand what is going on in the wider market. We are very focused in what happens just within the grocers and have tunnel vision almost so we are looking forward to understanding how other businesses work with licences, what works for them and gain an insight into whether there’s anything we have missed as a massive opportunity that we can look at next year and the year after.”


About BLE

5D. BLE21_Logo_updated_dateline_logos_for_2021_date_4c copyBrand Licensing Europe, or BLE as it is affectionately called, is the only pan-European annual trade show that is totally dedicated to licensing and brand extension. Owned by Informa Markets, this year’s three-day exhibition (which takes place Wednesday 17 November until Friday 19 November at London’s ExCel) will showcase over 2,500 brands and will bring together thousands of licensees, manufacturers, retailers, distributors and licensing agents.

As well as being packed with exhibitors showing their brands, there is also a major sustainability activation, co-ordinated by Products of Change, the membership organisation (partly owned by Max Publishing, owners of PG) which will highlight the sustainable progress being made in the greeting card sector as well as other product areas.

To find out more about BLE and register to attend the show, head to


Top: Morrisons’ buyers are working closer together on the grocer’s licensing activities.

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