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.
PG checks the heartbeat of a trio of greeting card retailers to find out how the first Spring Seasons event of 2019 panned out for them.
Kate Cowie, director of Utility, which has three shops in Liverpool and opens its first store in Manchester, (on Oxford Road in the city centre, part of the redevelopment of the Manchester Business School) in mid March:
“Our Valentine’s Day card sales, for cards that specifically include the word ‘Valentine’) were 9% up based on the previous year, but our ‘love card’ sales, for cards that have a love theme that we sell all year round, were a massive 36% up compared to previous year.
We had a strong weekend sales wise prior to Valentine’s Day which meant we were are up 15% year on year on sales of specific Valentine’s Day cards.
Our overall card sales for ‘Valentines week’ were 12% up compared with the same week last year which we were delighted with.
We also did well with associated gift products, which were also a main driver for sales.
The lovely Lucie [Chadderton, md] from Soochichacha let us use the images of her cards to blow up for the backdrop of our windows in our Liverpool stores which made them look great!”
Liz Killick, owner of Calladoodles in Carshalton, Surrey:
“Overall it was a successful Valentines for us, with sales up on last year.
It was a slower start than in 2018, with last minute sales (particularly in the last three days) making all the difference. Valentine’s Day itself saw sales significantly up on the previous year, with at least one desperate gentleman banging on the door after closing time!
It was lovely to see a rise in the number of ‘older’ male customers spending time thoughtfully selecting appropriate cards. The personalised/relation cards (Husband, Wife and Boyfriend/Girlfriend) proved very popular.
While all card sales were very strong, particular favourites came from Dandelion, Stop The Clock and Lagom’s Postco range.
In terms of gift sales the top sellers were scarves from Miss Shorthair and Isles & Stars, and candles from Country Candle and Parkminster, often teamed with jewellery from Ask and Orelia, but our real stars were Crumble & Core’s Earring gift cards – a lovely combination of watercolour style card and sterling silver earrings in a gift box. As top-up items the small and affordable East of India’s worded ceramic hearts sold very well.
Wrap and gift bags from Think of Me and Unique provided the finishing touches.
Miles Robinson, partner of House of Cards, the Home Counties group of five stores:
“Our Valentine’s Day sales ended on a par with 2018 levels, which is better than the trend over the past few years. However it helped that February 14 fell on a Thursday and the weather was with us.
Buying patterns saying customers buying as late as ever!
The star performer for us was Lucilla Lavender who published our top three best sellers. Tache Craft, Cherry Orchard’s What a Mug, Blue Eyed Sun and Woodmansterne all had top selling Valentine’s Day designs for us.”
Top: One of the Instagram posts by Calladoodles to promote its Valentine’s Day collection.