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VIEWPOINTS


Perspectives And Prophesies


It is often not until after an event that its significance is truly realised, while other potential opportunities or real threats are not recognised until they become an actuality.


PG asked members of the GCA Council to highlight a significant industry development of 2014 as well as share something they feel will impact the trade in the future.


Ged Mace


managing director of The Art File: Significant Development: “One development in particular that affected us all last year - the inability of local government throughout the land to help stimulate the high street recovery. It seems that councils (on the whole) want to bury their heads when it comes to thinking of positive ways to help regenerate the true potential of town centres. Come on councils, lead from the front, abolish parking charges at weekends at least! Just think of the extra revenue you could generate from full units resulting from bustling high streets and town centers.” Future Impact: “I think there will be a continued revolt against electronic cards. Consumers want to send and receive proper greeting cards. Our industry leads the world in card design and the creative use of boards, foiling, embossing, debossing, flittering, embellishing and die-cutting, not to mention the personal service from dedicated shop staff, means that consumers have such fabulous choice in the real world.”


Above: Ged Mace. Below: Anything that encourages vibrant town centres is good for the greeting card industry.


Steve Wright


managing director of Hallmark UK: Significant Development: “One significant development within the greeting card industry from my perspective this year has been the increase in the value sector of the market, with WHSmith launching a standalone chain of budget card stores with Cardmarket, as well as the arrival of the Simply Clintons stores. This will not only bring competition to Card Factory but has the potential to increase the amount of market share that is currently held by the budget card market. The challenge for other retailers is to ensure that they create a different product and experiential offering


within their stores. Left: Steve Wright.


PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE 27


Amanda Ferguson sales director of


Caroline Gardner: Significant Development: “National Thinking Of You Week: Our industry is all about facilitating communication, giving people the tools to say they care. This industry initiative reminds consumers to take time out of their busy lives to send a message to someone they care about; and all the signs from our first year is that it’s set to grow and grow!” Future Impact: “We need to change the perception that card sending will die out. Greeting cards are now available in more retail outlets than ever before. This is great for our industry and the continuation of card sending in the UK. The next generation are seeing, receiving and sending cards. Retailers need to make their displays stand out to ensure that customers are choosing their shop over their neighbours. The GCA recent Market Report showed a 5.6% increase in the


value of the single card market. This is great news and should give us all confidence in these changing times.”


Above: Amanda Fergusson (right) with fellow GCA Council member, Rachel Hare. Left: The introduction of National Thinking of You Week was one of the most significant developments of 2014.


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