With the cost of living crisis rarely out of the news, are the current financial pressures on people affecting gift sales? It’s the question Progressive Gifts & Home asked a cross-section of retailers at a recent PG&H Retailer Round Table held at Home & Gift.
“People are talking about it when they come in to shop with us, but they aren’t making different choices,” commented Jo Barber, owner of No. 14 Ampthill.“However, I think you have to know your customer. For example, we have customers that include empty nesters who are mortgage-free, so we ensure that we have relevant products in store for those who are the least affected. Conversely, we also have customers who are taking, or have taken on a mortgage, so we have to take that on board too, when it comes to price points.”
Continued Jo: “There are always gifting occasions to buy for, with customers buying a gift according to affordability. However, I do think that where interest rates are currently, coupled with people coming out of fixed mortgage deals, it is going to be difficult for some.”
It’s a similar story at Lovely Libby’s in Rayleigh, with owner Libby Holden confirming that customers do talk about the cost-of-living crisis, but continue to spend anyway. “Maybe the increase in mortgage repayments will bite over the next few months, but luckily we weren’t affected by the energy crisis so, fingers crossed, business will carry on as usual for us,” she added.
“Despite the cost of living crisis, this year has definitely been better than expected,” concurred Mark Rees, owner of nine Henry & Co stores, and co-founder and managing director of Henry & Co Home Fragrance. “People have been more inclined to shop locally, with perhaps the big shopping centres finding trade more challenging than independents at the moment. Our shops are all in touristy locations which people visit for a day out, and thankfully, they are faring very well. Nevertheless, we are in market towns, so we have to be aware and savvy with our pricing and our offer.”
“Because I started out in clothing we are very fashion orientated,” explained Jo Amor’s Jo Webber. “I’m six months ahead with many of our orders so I’m already committed. You can’t put your head in the sand, you have to work through it.The important thing is to keep moving forward and keep it fun for customers.”
To read the full version of this article, click through to pages 21-25 in the September issue of Progressive Gifts & Home.
Top: An insightful Progressive Gifts & Home Retailer Round Table recently took place at Home & Gift.