The good weather, late timing and high awareness generated by extensive marketing by all and sundry – and of course a love for our mums – all helped to deliver a strong Mother’s Day for most greeting card and gift retailers.
“This was our strongest ever Mother’s Day week in 20 years of retailing,” revealed a delighted Kate Cowie, director of Utility, which trades from four shops in Liverpool and Manchester. “Not including our Manchester store (which only opened two weeks ago) our year on year sales with our existing stores were over 30% up – an actual rise of over 1,200 single cards.”
While few retailers were able to match Utility’s impressive uplift in sales for Mother’s Day, one did.
Rod Saunders, who co-owns Card Shack in Broadstairs with his wife Carrie is certainly full of the joys of spring. “We had a stonking Mother’s Day – our sales were up 50%, but so much of this was down to the good weather,” he told PG Buzz. “Our shop is located right on the beach so when the weather is bad, as it was last year, we can be left with tons of stock, but thjs year it was perfect. The sun was out and so were the people! It was a different story last year when the Beast from the East was doing its worst!”
Among Card Shack’s best sellers were cards from Paperlink, Tracks and Pigment with a notable uptake on cards featuring a ‘Mothering Sunday’ caption. “We were surprised as we are known for our quirky humour, but people couldn’t get enough of the more traditional floral designs featuring Mothering Sunday,” revealed Rod.
With this being the latest date that Mother’s Day can fall, due to the timing of Easter, the anticipation and sales had a decent run up.
Lucy Sticka, co-owner of Little Paperie in Ashbourne, which also now runs a card concession in one of the town’s interiors stores, plus had a stall at the Derbyshire Spring Event the week before, was delighted by the public’s appetite for Mother’s Day this year.
“It went really well for us this year – in fact we almost had a sell out of Mother’s Day cards! We opened our concession last month so that brought in extra sales, but we had to keep swapping cards between the two locations and instigate extra last minute deliveries.
As soon as Valentine’s Day was over we were getting asked all the time for Mother’s Day cards. We had been a bit reluctant to put them out so early, but also didn’t want to lose sales. We had strong sales early on in March and so had to restock a few designs towards the day or would have lost those last minute sales over the final weekend.”
As for ‘star performers’, Lucy highlights “the smaller square cards by Wendy Jones-Blackett and Molly Mae sold out first, Stop the Clock’s cards sold well across the board. We also noted that more people were asking for cards without sentiment – just a nice floral design or something quite simple.”
West country indie, Kristan Miller, owner of Cadeaux & Co, based in Wells and Chipping Sodbury was another to report “extremely positive” Mother’s Day sales. “I’d have to agree with reports in the press that Mothers Day has become the second most popular ‘occasion’ after Christmas. In recent years we have seen Mother’s Day sales rise.
The most popular cards for Mother’s Day at Cadeaux, was “undoubtedly Stop the Clock, of which we sold out,” said Kristan, with Wendy Jones-Blackett, Five Dollar Shake, Dandelion Stationery and Toasted Crumpet among her stores’ other top performers.
Meanwhile in London, Postmark’s md Mark Janson-Smith was less enthusiastic about sales for the event, describing them as “OK, but not our best.” Sales in Postmark’s four stores were down 5% by value and 4% by volume. He says this performance “suggests a more cautious approach by us and the customer,” He accepts that “probably we were a little too cautious too and under bought slightly as our sale through on Mother’s Day was over 90%.”
The really strong performers for Postmark this Mother’s Day, based on sale through rates were: Think Of Me, Stop The Clock, Paper Salad, Noi and Louise Mulgrew all of whom had sale through of above 95%. “Sooshichacha was also particularly strong with great sales numbers and a sale through of 90%.
Our top three had 100% sell through so we definitely should have had more of these in store!” concludes Mark.
With Mother’s Day falling the day before Sainsbury’s switched over to all naked cards, it was the start of a big week for Sainsbury’s. Carly Pearson, Sainsbury’s card buyer confirmed a “good performance” for Mother’s Day in the supermarket “with very strong growth in own label.” A large proportion of its Mother’s Day cards, but not all were sold unwrapped.
Scribbler wins the prize for the top celebrity endorsement of its Mother’s Day selection with Victoria Beckham telling her millions of followers on social media of her joy of receiving a Scribbler card from her kids. The card in question featured a contemporary illustration of the Spice Girls. Jennie Procter, co-owner of Scribbler said that adding to the “positive” Mother’s Day sales for the retail group she was more than happy to lap up “This fantastic bit of free publicity!”