Fears that the early Mother’s Day date were heightened when the snowy conditions followed by a rainy thaw put a real dampener on sales for many retailers, but not all.
“The poor weather in the week prior to Mother’s Day didn’t help at all – sales were down quite a bit,” admitted Rumit Shah, director of specialist multiple Cards Galore. “To recover all the lost sales in the week immediately before the event is difficult, although we did our best!”
Approaching the situation philosophically, he added: “We just have to just plough on – forwards and onwards!”
Lara Wares, owner of Threads of Harpenden admitted that the weather had caused a real drop in customer traffic at her shop thereby affecting sales in the lucrative run-up period to Mother’s Day.
“The week before Mother’s Day was actually good for us, slightly up on last year. But the weather the week prior to this was a bit of a disaster for trade. We should have been really busy but the snow kept everyone at home. It’s been a bit of an unlucky winter for us as the same thing happened in the run up to Christmas.”
While many retailers who faced a downturn in sales are ‘keeping mum’ about revealing their frustrations and drop in sales, the Spring Seasons event was certainly not a wash out for all, with plenty of cardies keen to share that, against all odds, they even managed somehow to beat last year’s sales figures.
Megan Eyles, owner of Peppertrees in Northampton was relieved that she actually ended up 5% up on the previous year though it was something of a white knuckle ride, caused more by lack of awareness of the date than the weather, she feels. “Northampton only really had three days of heavy snow, we got off so lightly. I just don’t think people realised how early Mother’s Day was this year compared to 2017. People left it so late to purchase cards and gifts, even at 2 o’clock on the Saturday before I was panicking that it was going to be really poor moneywise for us, but thankfully it turned out well,” admits Megan. “Wendy Jones-Blackett and Five Dollar Shake/Counting Stars cards hit the right note with our customers for the event.”
Heidi Early, of Earlybird Designs in London’s Stoke Newington was another indie who was delighted by its sales, with social media proving invaluable in driving awareness.
“Mother’s Day sales were exceptional for us this year – we even sold through last year’s left over stock! The weather only affected our sales for a few days but then customers came out in their droves – we think everyone had become a bit stir crazy!”
For the first time this year, Earlybird took to Instagram to promote the event every day in the run up, “and it definitely generated sales,” confirmed Heidi. “Customers specifically came in asking for the cards or gifts we had featured.”
Earlybird took a more inclusive approach to its Mother’s Day designs which also paid off. “We made sure covered the gender neutral/LGBT requests with our own mini rainbows hearts card – and we will look for a couple more designs to cover this for next year. We also stocked step-mum cards for the first time this year which was a success.”
Emma Paisey, owner of Daisy Park, South Molton in Devon said that this year’s Mother’s Day was its “best ever. We almost sold out of cards, I think there are about 10 left so I was really pleased with that.”
Making the most of International Women’s Day falling in the same week as Mother’s Day, Daisy Park ran a competition for customers, asking them to say which woman inspired them on a daily basis. The lucky winners received some Cath Kidston goodies.
“The competition proved very popular and it was great to read all the inspirational comments, especially from sons and daughters about their mothers.”
Sarah Lishman, card buyer for independent department store, Barkers Northallerton was another retailer who was very happy with the upshot of Mother’s Day. “Fantastic!!” was how she summed up the outcome. While Sarah admits that the weather “killed trade the week before, then the snow hit again on the Thursday, but the gaps in between the snow certainty made up for it. We had a fantastic Friday and a record Saturday. We were up on last year, with companies across the board all selling extremely well.”