Mum’s the word

The long lead-up boosted Mother’s Day sales for multiples and independents 

With Mother’s Day falling later this year, the longer lead-up meant improved sales for many retailers, with a greater selection of extended captions also improving till takings.

Cardzone reported a 3% growth like-for-like across its chain of 90+ stores. “The longer lead time definitely helped!” stated Paul Taylor, md.

Between the Lines poster
Poster for Mother’s Day in Between the Lines shops.

Paperchase reported a “decent like-for-like growth”, with performance “exceeding expectations”, buying director Frances Burkle revealed. “Given the later date compared to last year, the sales were more evenly spread but as ever we still saw that rush in the last few days. What really stood out this for us this year is how much people wanted to celebrate their Grandmas too – we introduced a full row to the offer this year and were rewarded with strong sales on these lines.”

Likewise Clintons enjoyed a good Mother’s Day, supported by a heavyweight PR campaign. “We offered over 400 different Mother’s Day designs this year, across 36 different captions,” Tim Fairs, vp of marketing & e-Commerce revealed.

In the 13 Between the Lines stores in the South of England, managing director Florian Kleinlercher reported a 4% increase in sales of Mother’s Day cards. “While Spring Seasons are always a little difficult to compare due to them falling on different dates every year, 2017 has shown solid growth for Mother’s Day. As a whole, the stores are 7% up on target so far for March. Mother’s Day card sales started quite slowly but accelerated strongly towards the end of the season, and the Saturday before Mother’s Day showed a 7% increase compared to 2016. Particularly strong card ranges this year were Tracks, Woodmansterne and Hammond Gower Publications.”

How did indies fare on the Mother’s Day front?

The Mother’s Day display in Feathering Your Nest.
The Mother’s Day display in Feathering Your Nest.

Mother’s Day coming later in the month was a relief for Lesley Dunne, owner of Feathering Your Nest in Rayleigh, Essex, giving her more time to set the shop up after Valentine’s Day. “With such a long run up though, it seemed to me that customers were leaving it later to buy,” says Lesley. “I needn’t have worried though, the build up started the week before and by Saturday the queue was practically out of the door for most of the day. Saturday staff wrapped gifts in pink tissue and cello all day as the tills rang out. Everyone was patient and good humoured and the Haribo sweets help stave off any hunger pangs! Best sellers for cards included Hearts Designs, Caroline Gardner, Janie Wilson and Laura Darrington.”

Sales were also strong at the three Calliope Gifts shops in Surrey, West Sussex and Hampshire. Director Philip Downer said: “Thanks to our Haywards Heath store maturing nicely, we saw a 9% increase in unit sales on Mother’s Day cards this year. However, the overall feeling in the market I think is more cautious than this time last year. We saw less last minute shopping, with stronger sales of Mother’s Day in the (longer than usual) run-up to the big day.”

A Ling Designs Mother's Day card for Grandma.
A Ling Designs Mother’s Day card for Grandma.

Glasgow-based retailer, Fiona Fabien of Papyrus was “delighted”. “We had excellent Mother’s Day – our Mother’s Day card sales were up by 12% and we finished 9% up overall on last year. I do believe the increase was due to a late Mother’s Day on 26th March compared with 6th March last year. I think we were particularly fortunate in Glasgow as we had beautiful weather in the week running up to the event. The brilliant sunshine and warm temperatures brought Glaswegians out in droves to the parks, cafes, and attractions driving footfall up in the West End.”

Non-specialist indies also did well. Carolyn Wilson, owner of Victoriana, a florist and gift shop in Alness, Scotland, had a cracking Mother’s Day. “It was very, very busy and busier than last year,” Carolyn commented. “We stock a large range of cards from many suppliers. Greeting cards are now a huge part of our business, and nearly everyone who comes in buys a card to go with their purchase. We recently revamped the shop. I would say that in the two weeks since we did that our sales have doubled from the same period last year.”

The Greeting Card Project: Mother’s Day Special

In his weekly Greeting Card Project, Jeremy Corner, managing director of greeting card publisher Blue Eyed Sun asked fellow ‘cardies’ what their Mums mean to them and why Mother’s Day is so special.

Featuring interviewees from: Jakki Brown (Progressive Greetings), Laura Sherratt (Laura Sherratt Designs), Suna Sor (Tiger Lily), Debbie King (Desito), Sharon Little (GCA), Laura Kavanagh (Go La La), Warren Lomax (PG Live), Julian Homfray (Thinkls) and Ilona Drew (I Drew This).

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