Summer is here and the heat is on…and as the industry sweats out all the opportunities, Progressive Greetings’ August edition has landed like a Lemonade Sparkle ice lolly, full of zingy news, sparkling views and fresh new launches.
News that Cardzone is back on the expansion trail (taking over 20 former Clintons’ store units) (click to page 6-7); that Paperchase has opened its first ever standalone store in Eire (click to page 12-13) that Card Factory wowed City analysts with its brand new five year plan (click to page 10-11) were all well received as positive indicators for the sector’s health.
However, this has to be balanced again the plight of many city centre retailers, the lack of tourists and office workers seeing some enclaves virtually deserted, causing Rumit Shah, director of Cards Galore to appear on BBC to tell it like it is from his perspective. (Click to page 16-17).
PG’s trio of columnists, David Robertson (of JP Pozzi), Jeremy Corner (of Blue Eyed Sun) and Cardsharp each share their own take on how the ongoing pandemic is affecting life and trade. Giving the little used word ‘bifurcation’ an appropriate run out, David Robertson’s admission of being constantly in two minds about what to do in these unprecedented times is likely to resonate with many (click to pages 20-21).
While Jeremy is adapting to taking cautious steps, with a hope for a good Christmas trade, Cardsharp is rather more bullish, wanting to believe in a v-shaped greeting card recovery à la Winston Churchill (click to pages 22-23).
With greeting card sending having held up strongly during lockdown as everyone wanted to show support and caring, so it looks like we are on for strong engagement with Thinking of You Week this year with retailers and publishers pulling out the stops to get involved with the GCA-instigated card sending campaign (which takes place September 21-27 this year).
As Grace Elphinstone, trade marketing manager of Carte Blanche Greetings states: “As all of us in the industry know, greeting cards have an incredible power in being able to lift a person in a way that a text message or call simply cannot. In the current times in which we find ourselves, where people are isolated more than ever and mental health is being challenged, card sending really has come into its own – which makes Thinking of You Week all the more important and relevant.” (Click to pages 24-25)
Something else that is ‘all the more important and relevant’ is the drive for greater diversity in the greeting card industry, both within companies and also in the greeting card selection offered by retailers. While still very much ‘work in progress’, a recent meeting convened by the GCA, involving publishers and retailers has resulted in a greater understanding as well some traction, including the formation of a GCA Diversity Sub-Committee.
Stating Scribbler’s intention on this matter, Aisling Crosland, its head of design said: “We want to make seeing diversity on our cards just part of the norm rather than the anomaly.” (Click to pages 33-35)
A quad of leading independent retailers reveal their respective stores’ best sellers in the popular What’s Hot? feature (click to pages 38-39).
In the Innovations section a clutch of publishers dish up a feast for the eyes in a raft of new ranges that are ripe to hit the card racks (click to pages 29-31).
While Art Source this month, gives you the opportunity to meet Kate Heiss, the artist behind The Art File’s Nature Trail and Museum and Galleries’ Art in Print collections (click to page 36-37).
All this and more in the pages of a lovely glossy magazine and supplement. Wouldn’t you like to hold them in your hands so you can flick through and read them wherever takes your fancy.
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