“Valentines was, quite literally, a complete washout,” summed up Paul Taylor, managing director of the Cardzone group, referring to the horrendous weather conditions which struck many parts of the UK in the run up to Valentine’s Day. “Footfall was down 15% in Valentine’s week and we ended up almost 10% down. It is very disappointing, some stores were woeful,” he admitted.
As John Procter, managing director of Scribbler commented: “No retailer needed Valentine’s week to be bookended by storms Ciara and Dennis,” saying that the severity of the weather would have had a definite dampening effect on trade.
“On the Saturday before Valentine’s Day in our Glasgow store we took a quarter of what we usually take on a normal Saturday. At best you can only think to be able to get half of those lost sales back.”
That said overall Scribbler actually ended 4% like-for-like on sales for Valentine’s week. “One interesting shift was that we saw customers buying an everyday card instead of a Valentine’s Day design. We saw a 9% uplift in everyday cards while our website sales were up 11%,” adds John.
The Gee Tees group went for the ‘sweet spot’ giving every customer who bought a Valentine’s card in its stores a tube of Swizzels Matlow Love Hearts sweets.
While it still has to crunch the numbers, Yasmin Twist, card buyer senses that “the weather, but also half-term falling the same day and people going on holiday for the week because of the awful weather” could be factors in dampening the sales potential this year.
From the indie camp, Amanda Lockwood of Cards ‘R’ Us on South Woodford Ferrers says there was “Not much love in the air” for Valentine’s 2020. “The weather certainly affected business, but Valentine’s trade was pretty quiet unfortunately. The event seems to be less popular every year. Here’s hoping for a busy Mother’s Day though!”.
While the weather did reduce footfall, with its four shops being in London, Postmark was not battered by floods like retailers in other areas of the UK. “Weather killed the weekend trade,” Mark Janson-Smith, md of Postmark told PG Buzz. “Valentine’s trade was very, very late – never known a 14th like it, pushing us 20% up, so all gravy!”
Top: Cards Galore offered a huge selection of Valentine’s Day cards.