It’s all happening, and PG has it covered. The June edition of Progressive Greetings is crammed full of news and views from retailers, publishers and suppliers.
“We delivered a robust performance for the year, maintaining flat like-for-like sales despite a tough consumer environment,” commented Karen Hubbard, chief executive of Card Factory about the card multiple’s performance of the last year. “I was pleased with the results, though no retailer really wants to report anything but good like-for-like sales. However, compared to so many other retail sectors, we held up well,” she added.
Three years into her role as chief executive of Card Factory, Karen Hubbard is making her mark – Card Factory’s sales for the year to 31 January 2019 grew by 3.3% (to £436 million) – so PG asked the head of the UK’s largest greeting card retailer about the challenges and changing shape of the business (click to pages 75-77).
Independent retailer Pete Whiteman, co-owner of Dzodzo in Woodbridge, ignited discussions when he called for greater clarity regarding the costs of cellowrapping cards and questioned whether there are any cost savings on going naked that should be shared with retailers.
“In the past, suppliers used to charge an extra 4p or 5p to supply cards cellowrapped. Some built in this cost and supplied everything wrapped, but now suppliers are delivering naked cards, but the cost hasn’t reduced by the 4p or 5p.”
Discover more in PG June (click to page 31-33).
With the doors opening for PG Live in a week’s time (4-5 June at the London’s Business Design Centre), not surprisingly the June edition is a celebration of the exciting new launches to debut at the show (click to pages 47-73) as well as the Nuts and Bolts of the PG Live show (click to pages 35-37).
Dame Zandra Rhodes has seen her designs grace the top fashion catwalks, her trademark bold patterns, celebration of colour and distinctive sense of style known the world over. However, for the first time, her designs are gracing a greeting card and gift stationery collection Museums & Galleries is launching at PG Live (click to pages 91-93). And, the great lady will be coming to the show herself on the Wednesday to check it out for herself.
After spotting the beautifully designed packaging on The London Distillery Company’s gin collection, produced in partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Kelly Hyatt, founder of Lagom Design, made contact with the world famous gardens about his desire to create a range of greeting cards, postcards and gift wrappings based on the brand.
Now with the publisher’s new Kew collection bursting into bloom at PG Live this month, Kelly reveals the over whelming exploration of Kew’s extensive resource of more than 200,000 botanical prints and drawings, plus portraits, photographs and three-dimensional objects that chart the history of botany that he had at his disposal (click to pages 79-81).
“A knighthood would be fantastic, but that’s a lot of pressure to put on a debut show,” jokes Michael Davis, founder of Some Ink Nice, about what he would like to glean from exhibiting for the first time at PG Live show. “No, at this stage, while obviously orders would be welcome, learning and getting feedback are vital. I’d also like to meet more smaller, independent shop owners,” he adds.
With a number of newbie and emerging card publishers showing their wares in PG Live’s Springboard and Village Green area at the greeting card trade fair, a number reveal their life before cards and share their journey into the industry (click to pages 39-45).
Among swaying palm fronds and the blistering hot sun are Dubai’s cooling and luxurious shopping malls, filled with high-end stores, which, thanks in big part to Yasmin Rahmatullah-Jones, founder of YTR Studios, are now showcasing the crème of UK card designs.
Leading British publishers, including Wendy Jones-Blackett, Always Sparkle, Lola Design, Dandelion Stationery, Paper Salad, Five Dollar Shake, Jessica Hogarth and Counting Stars, as well as her own YTR Studios designs, are in retail outlets throughout Dubai, including
Carrefour Supermarkets, The Dubai Aquarium, luxury department stores Galleries Lafayette and Bloomingdales, to name just a few.
Embracing the opportunity to distribute UK publishers’ cards to Dubai’s vibrant retail base, Yasmin reveals how the card market is growing in the UAE (click to pages 105-107).
Liverpool-based design-led card, gift and lifestyle retail group Utility is marking its 20th anniversary this year by expanding its store estate.
Utility trades from three shops (including its flagship, right in the heart of the Liverpool One development) but not only has it recently opened a new look store in the heart of Manchester, and it is exceeding expectations but there are plans underway to refit the Liverpool One store, while scouting has begun for additional store sites.
“We would ideally like to create a cluster of Utility stores in Manchester, just as we have in Liverpool,” reveals Katie Cowie, one of the ‘three musketeers’ who co-own the Utility retail group, along with Richard Skelton and Dick Mawdsley. “Also, we would not rule out opening stores in Leeds, York or Birmingham in the future – but not just yet,” she adds, wanting to enjoy the ‘new baby’ days of the Manchester store. To find out more (click to pages 87-89).
Within June’s Progressive Greetings, the Focus On Cute Cards takes a look at the adorable and sweet news and fresh launches in this sector of the market. (Click to pages 95-99).
Retailing commentator Michael Weedon, managing director of Exp2, shares his take on the current plight of the High Street (click to pages 83-85).
And June PG also includes wise words from regular columnists, card publisher Blue Eyed-Sun’s Jeremy Corner, who considers branding (click to pages 115-116), and David Robertson of Scottish retailer JP Pozzi, who compares superhero indies to Avengers: The Endgame. (Click to pages 24-25).
All this in the pages of a lovely glossy magazine and online too!
Click here to read the whole PG June 2019 edition online.