Publishers Adopt A Pragmatic Approach On Indies’ Easter Cards Returns 

While PM Boris Johnson’s announcement on Sunday (May 10) will confirm whether card shops will have the option to open in time to secure some Father’s Day sales, card publishers are firming up on their policies for indies on this year’s Easter returns of card stock – with many taking a pragmatic view, allowing retailers to keep the cards for next year and pay for them then.

With official lockdown coming into effect with little warning the day after Mother’s Day (23 March) Easter cards had been delivered to stores, but not been given any prominence. In fact thousands of these cards still remained in stock rooms in unopened boxes.

“How to approach this year’s Easter stock has posed a real dilemma for publishers, but so many have taken a generous and practical approach so that both sides now know where they stand on this,” Chris Dyson, joint managing director of Cardgains, the buying group whose members account for 1,000 independent shops, told PG Buzz. The Cardgains’ website (www.cardgains.co.uk/) is hosting publishers’ respective approaches to 2020 Easter returns as and when they have been announced. Cardgains’ latest weekly update to members that was sent today (May 7), includes details of how another seven publishers – GBCC, Ling, Noel Tatt, Nigel Quiney, Paper Rose, Second Nature and Woodmansterne – are approaching the matter.

Above: One of the GCA’s free downloadable PoS items that was designed by UKG following a suggestion by Cardgains.
Above: One of the GCA’s free downloadable PoS items that was designed by UKG following a suggestion by Cardgains.

Of these Second Nature, Nigel Quiney, Noel Tatt and Paper Rose join Carte Blanche Greetings in deferring invoices for 2020 Easter stock, telling indies to keep the cards for next year and pay for them then. Commenting, Alison Butterworth, joint md of Paper Rose and Nigel Quiney said: “Thinking of our customers and the fact that the majority of their Spring Seasons sales for 2020 have been badly hit due to the government lockdown, we believe that it is a good idea to offer flexibility to them.  Customers can retain their Easter 2020 stock for Easter 2021 and pay for it after Easter 2021.  Or if stocks are low they can request a credit. We expect to have brand new Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day for 2021 and run with the existing Easter and Father’s Day from 2020.”

Variations on what Paper Rose/Nigel Quiney and others are offering, this include Cherry Orchard extending credit until the end of December this year while Words ‘n’ Wishes is giving 2020 Easter cards ‘free of charge’ to Cardgains members with stock at trade value being given in exchange against a future everyday order once the restrictions are lifted.

Relaying its policy to Cardgains’ members, Abacus Cards has said that once lockdown is lifted its territory managers will be prepared to swap Easter stock for everyday cards.

Above: An Easter design from Nigel Quiney.
Above: An Easter design from Nigel Quiney.

IC&G’s joint managing director, Simon Wagstaff confirmed to PG Buzz that the company has just done what he describes as a bit of a “u turn” on its approach as to the physical movement of the stock. While initially its directive was that the stock would be uplifted by members of the IC&G sales team and a credit would be issued, Simon confirmed that the retailer should keep the unsold Easter stock until next year with the invoice being “frozen” until after Easter 2021.

Above: IC&G’s joint mds, Simon (right) and Ian Wagstaff (prior to social distancing came into effect).
Above: IC&G’s joint mds, Simon (right) and Ian Wagstaff (prior to social distancing came into effect).

Echoing the views of other publishers Simon said: “While some post offices, newsagents and convenience stores who have been able to continue to trade sold a lot of Easter cards, so many other shops had no choice but to close. The simplest solution for all, and the least wasteful on the environment, is for the retailers to keep these designs until next year.”

Above: A Paper Rose design. Together with its sister company Nigel Quiney Publications, Paper Rose indie customers are able to keep their Easter ‘returns’, the invoice will be frozen and the cards can go on sale next year.
Above: A Paper Rose design. Together with its sister company Nigel Quiney Publications, Paper Rose indie customers are able to keep their Easter ‘returns’, the invoice will be frozen and the cards can go on sale next year.

As Chris added: “While this is the right decision, it needs to be recognised that publishers are taking the brunt on this. Hopefully the announcement on Sunday will signal a return to happier days for all, personally and businesswise.”

Top: So many indies’ Easter displays were never really seen by customers as lockdown was imposed on March 23.

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