Greetings Today magazine, giving you the bigger picture

12 May, 2010

What do you send the women in your life?

Lewis Eckett - editor, Greetings Today 

As a man, buying cards for female relations or friends can be a tricky experience.

I’m not really a ‘cute’ person and I’m not prone to over-sentimentalising either. So I always look for something obviously feminine but with a strong graphical style to help me make the ‘send’.
Ling Design’s new Paris range fits the bill perfectly for me. It’s stylish and feminine but has a modish quality that is strong and clean.

It’s ideal for the women in my life not just because I think they would be glad to receive it but mostly because I would be happy to send it.
You can see further details of the range and Ling’s other new releases on the Product Showcase section of the GT Website at:

While you are there please sign up for our News Flash service, which keeps you up to date with the latest news, views and events in the world of greetings.

It's a rollercoaster sales ride out there

 If it isn’t the worst snow in twenty years or the deepest recession in living memory, its Icelandic volcanoes or the General Election – whatever the case, retailing has had a lot to contend with over the first quarter of the year.
It’s even harder to get an accurate picture of what’s going on for card retailers. The operators contacted by GT have reported varying sales performances – some are up, but not by much, while others are ‘flat’.
There’s no rhyme or reason to it and certainly no demographic element either.
The snow in the early part of the year brought great difficulty for those retailers in stores outside of the covered malls and has certainly caused a dip in sales. But snow is just one of those things you can’t plan for - just like volcanoes.
At first glance a volcanic eruption in Iceland shouldn’t have much of an impact on retailing. But the fact that we are increasingly dependent on stock produced overseas, particularly in the Far East, highlighted how supply chains can be affected even though most publisher’s stock is sent by sea.
One publisher I spoke to ruefully stated that despite his stock being on a boat from China, it was the paperwork that was held up by the flight ban meaning he couldn’t get the shipment released.
The threat of a giant ash cloud may have wrought havoc in the aviation industry but it has been the Election that has been of greater impact. The threat of a ‘hung Parliament’ and the economic turmoil that would result seems to have convinced UK consumers to tighten their belts even further.
Then there are reports from financial think-tanks, arguing that the UK’s budget deficit is so great that whoever wins the election will have an impossible job on their hands to turn the economy around.
By the time you read this, we will know who is going to lead us into (and hopefully out of) this mess over the next four to five years. It’s likely that whoever has won that VAT will have to rise to pay down the debt we owe as a country.
Once again, retail will be in the frontline if any increase in VAT is unveiled as the party of power grapples with the need to balance the books.
For card-based retailers the situation is not so problematic as the unit price is so relatively low, but there may still be some impact if shoppers are given even less incentives to spend.
Fortunately, card retailing is living up to the adage that it is largely unaffected by recessionary times. Clinton Cards recently reported positive sales figures and if the rumours are anything to go by Card Factory is such a safe bet as a business that it is worth £350 million.
And for the independents there are signs that despite all the troubles in the world, people still need to send cards and communicate their sentiments.
But that doesn’t mean card retailers can just sit back and carry on as normal. Keeping things fresh and interesting in-store is imperative just to stand still. Keeping a close eye on buying and whether or not product sells through is equally important. And the ability to drive complementary sales of gifts will never be more vital.
Consumers may be under the cosh but they will still be attracted to dynamic retail operations that offer a breadth of product they can’t get anywhere else.
That’s the challenge for card retailers as we enter the mid part of the year and the uncertain times to come.