N ON F OOD S
G H Q
IN THE CARDS
A well-stocked assortment of greeting cards can
significantly boost supermarket nonfoods sales
and profits. BY RICHARD TURCSIK
WANT TO BOOST nonfoods sales for all occasions? Start by stocking a wide selection of greeting cards and associated stationery items, because according to industry observers, a well-merchandised greeting card
department can dramatically boost both sales and profits by attracting
new consumers—including the ever-popular Millennials—to the store.
Greeting cards also spur ancillary sales in departments like floral and
giftware, and draw in traffic that previously went to independent card
and gift shops, observers say. As an added bonus, most manufacturers
maintain the aisle for the retailer, freeing up store associates to work in
“If supermarkets are not selling greeting cards it is really a mistake,”
says Carlos LLansó, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Greeting
Card Association, and CEO of Legacy Publishing, a 2,000-plus title specialty greeting card manufacturer based in Clinton, Mass.
“Think about the margins in the grocery business compared to the
margins you are going to get in a greeting card,” LLansó says. “For a
supermarket, a greeting card is normally a guaranteed sale.”
LLansó sees greeting cards as a planned purchase, rather than an
impulse buy. “You hardly ever see cards in the checkout lane because
it is not an impulse thing. So, cards keep the shopper in the store lon-
ger,” he says.
In recent years, many mall and downtown independent card stores
have been closing up shop, LLansó notes. “While the greeting card
business continues to be strong, the way those greeting cards are getting to consumers has certainly changed in the past couple of decades.
I think supermarkets are perfectly poised for the change to capitalize
on it,” he says.
Hallmark, for example, has beefed up its relationships with its
supermarket partners, such as the Raley’s chain, based in West
“As shopping habits change, we work closely with supermarket partners to ensure we are providing consumers with easy access to the
products they need to connect with others,” says James Melton, vice
president and general manager of national accounts at Hallmark Cards,
based in Kansas City, Mo.
“Consumers are short on time, so they are looking for stores like
Raley’s where they can buy all of their weekly essentials and also find
greetings products to enhance their relationships and improve their
lives. We are pleased an industry leader such as Raley’s is aligning
with us to better meet consumer demand by expanding their greetings
A main attraction of the independent card store is its breadth of
selection, and the supermarket can mimic that, say observers.
“For those supermarkets that remain committed to greeting card
space and locations in their stores, and provide their consumers with the