As the kids (finally) settle back into school, the September edition of PG lands at the start of the Autumn ‘term’, marking the run up to the all-important Christmas season. With Mums/dads/grandparents on school drop off and pick up duty are now catching up with their counterparts at the school gates, the birthday party invites are being reinstated and the ‘popping into the shops’ visits on their way home is a signal that traffic could/should be on the up for greeting card stockists.
Could we be on for an early Christmas buying season? John Lewis has tracked it in public searches, Paul Taylor of Cardzone voiced his prediction a few months ago, Sonya Haandrikman-Sibald of Celebrations, Carlisle and Card Factory are among those that have acted on it. (Click to page 18). And how long will the ‘shop local’ push hold? Full marks to Visa for putting weight behind promoting indies like Lark London and Halls of Llandaff. (Click to page 21)
But indies are doing it for themselves, with the Viewpoints section dedicated to comments about how they are adjusting to the new ways of working, which includes adapting the ways they are sourcing products, meeting reps and placing orders. (Click to page 28-29).
This time last year, Joe Guest took over as senior buyer for greeting cards at Paperchase, never expecting what the following 12 months would bring.
“The world has completely changed, ways of working and putting ranges together have been overhauled, retailers have had to contend with huge drops in turnover while online sales have gone through the roof. However, throughout all this, greeting cards have held their own,” says Joe. PG Zoomed in to meet up with Joe and talk shop. (Click to pages 40-41)
“Somewhere near the bottom and the summit is the reason why we climb,” is a quote from mountaineer Greg Child, that JP Pozzi’s David Pozzi uses to perfectly illustrate why, despite all manner of challenges in retail, that indies like him are ever ready to seek out new routes to progress in the rocky terrain. This includes David joining the other 85,000 companies who have developed an online business during lockdown.
Meanwhile, Cardsharp has ditched his hobnail boots for stilettos, in the quest to up the quota of ‘Sex in the City’, encouraging those in the card sector to embrace our urban centres, reminding us all that all cities and major towns are the central artery system of our modern life. ‘All human development from ancient Babylon, Athens and Rome has emerged from urban centres. Without them there can be no progress and as an economy, an industry and indeed as a civilization, we will be so much poorer’ writes Cardsharp. (click to pages 26-27)
Greeting cards are all about relationships, designs and sentiments – unless you are the UK’s largest greeting card retailer on a mission to convince hard-nosed analysts and shareholders of the merit in investing in the company’s five-year plan, that’s when you need some facts and figures to back it all up. PG logs on to Card Factory’s Capital Market Day presentation. (click to pages 50-51)
While Card Factory has the facts and figures, PG undertook its own mini ‘vox pop’, talking to members of the public as to how Covid-19 has affected their card buying as well as the role they believe cards play in modern society.
With face coverings the ‘must have’ accessory, PG acknowledges this booming product area for retailers. (click to pages 54-55).
A quad of leading independent retailers reveal their respective stores’ best sellers in the popular What’s Hot? feature (click to pages 62-63) while the Innovations section sees a raft of publishers dish up a smorgasbord of new ranges and designs that are bursting to hit the card racks. (click to pages 34-35).
While Jeremy Corner of Blue Eyed Sun looks back at the company’s 20 years, that has been full of lots of bright spots, Art Source this month, gives the opportunity to meet Rachel Bright, the creator of The Brightside which now has some new homes with Widdop & Co for giftware, Danilo for cards and Portico for calendars and diaries. (click to page 60-61).
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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