Romance Is Not Dead, It Was Just Last Minute

Retailers’ pulses were racing as they totted up their Valentine’s Day card sales from last Thursday (14 February) with a high percentage of purchases being made in the last few days.

Among those to have been delighted by the performance of the first Spring Seasons event of 2019 was Scribbler, who told PG Buzz that its Valentine’s Day card sales were 9% up on the previous year.

“Valentines was very successful for us,” commented John Procter, co-owner of Scribbler. He cites the retailer’s own brand selection as a major reason for this stunning performance.

“We also increased the space allocation for the last week to allow easier access to the cards. The downside to this was a slight decrease in everyday card sales but overall it worked well. Valentine’s gifts also performed well in spite of us not being too Valentine specific (or perhaps because of) Party, also, unusually, showed strong growth,” he added.

Above: Scribbler had a stonking Valentine’s season this year.
Above: Scribbler had a stonking Valentine’s season this year.

Independent retailer, Debbie Davis, owner of Cherry Cards in Upminster, Essex feels that there was a lot in the event’s favour this year: “I do think us traders struck lucky with Valentine’s this year. The event fell mid week on a Thursday, it wasn’t in half term holidays and the weather was fantastic for mid-February, I even had the door open with the sun shining in! This time last year I believe we had the Beast from the East on its way!”

Her sales ended up 4% compared to last year.

Above: Cherry Cards’ Debbie Davis with her husband Steve with their personal Valentine’s Day cards.
Above: Cherry Cards’ Debbie Davis with her husband Steve with their personal Valentine’s Day cards.

Last minute sales definitely the name of the game. Mark Janson-Smith, owner of London-based Postmark (whose sales ended up on a par with the previous year for its shops) said that over 50% of its sales came in the last three or four days.

John Lewis experienced a passionate last minute surge on Valentine’s Day cards. “We finished Valentines slightly behind last year, but only by one percent,” revealed Lizzie Batchelar, assistant buyer of cards, giftwrap and seasonal events for John Lewis. “However we were really pleased with this given how back ended sales were, as expected!. In the final week we saw sales come through at +18%, so having that extra day to trade was great! Our sell through was also up on last year.”

Above: Among Postmark’s winners were Louise Mulgrew’s designs. The ‘feline’s’ clearly mutual.
Above: Among Postmark’s winners were Louise Mulgrew’s designs. The ‘feline’s’ clearly mutual.

With Easter falling late this year, with Easter Sunday falling on April 2, this means there is a decent run up to Mother’s Day (Sunday 31 March) for card retailers meaning that there are high hopes for the second Spring Season event of the year.

Top: Upminster’s Cherry Orchard wholeheartedly embraced Valentine’s Day – it was the right colour for it!

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