IN THE PRESS! Northern Cards talks to Canadian Grocer

Written by Selina Hallam


Canadian Grocer

Northern Cards is featured in the February 2020 issue of the Canadian Grocer Magazine, where our publisher Jean-Paul Michael shares some thoughts on greeting cards sold in independent grocers and smaller chains.

The article, written by Carolyn Cooper, reveals some fascinating trends such as laser-cut card designs and new lines from Hallmark and Carlton.

Canadian Grocer

Canadian Grocer

There's also some eye-popping statistics...

'According to the U.S. Greeting Card Association (GCA), more than 6.5 billion greeting cards are purchased annually—roughly 80% of those by women—representing between US$7 and $8 billion in retail sales.'

Greeting card trends may come and go but it's more than clear that on the whole, this billion-dollar industry is alive and well, and as Carolyn says, '... the rumours of greeting cards’ death have been greatly exaggerated.'

Jean-Paul Michael's interview for this article includes some interesting information that we think our readers will enjoy, so we've added some of the Q&A here... 

How would you describe the current state of the greeting card industry in Canada?

I would say it’s an involving industry, with a changing demographic. The traditional greeting card stores that our parents and grandparents frequented with such regularity are certainly disappearing but don’t write off our industry just yet. There is a certain authenticity to receiving a physical handwritten card. Maybe it’s even a bit of nostalgia.

What are the key trends in greeting card design today?

It’s really all over the place. Smaller cards, more expensive cards, square cards, embellishments such as feathers, tiny clothing and glitter. While there is no doubt that this is where part of the market is heading, I think our industry needs to be mindful of the upcoming single-use plastics ban as well. We stopped using glitter in 1996 for both economic reasons and health concerns of the folks working with these products.

Who are your consumers?

Our product line has something for everyone. We sell as many children’s birthday cards as we do sympathy cards.

Canadian Grocer

Our grocery store assortment provides an 87% margin, which means for about $70, you will receive $540 of goods at retail value. In 2018, we piloted our ‘direct-to-retailer’ business model in order to offer these unprecedentedly high margins. This streamlined program doesn’t include payment terms, salespeople, rack jobbers or any consignment offers. However, it does allow a store owner to keep $3.26 profit off every $3.75 card that they sell. 

This assortment has 144 of our best-selling, large-sized cards (3 of each of 48 designs) and includes Birthday, Friendship, Blank, Sympathy, Thank You, Wedding, Anniversary, Thinking of You, Congratulations, Sorry, Get Well and Love cards. As well as grocery stores, it's also popular with convenience stores, flower shops and gift shops. 

You can read the February 2020 Canadian Grocer Magazine article here.

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