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“‘Shows are the best place to showcase innovation…”

As one of the world’s largest nursery retailers, pram specialist Samuel Johnston is well-placed to take a look at the year ahead and what it is likely to hold for the nursery industry and independent retailers in particular, as commnications and marketing manager Donna McCullough revealed.

Donna McCullough introducing new team member Bella to the store.

What predictions do you have for the year ahead?

“I predict a move towards greener, sustainable products that are ethically sourced. There will be an increase in demand for outdoor products such as buggies with large wheels, as people continue to embrace the great outdoors for their entertainment. There will be a downturn in demand for items such as holiday buggies, which are often used in shopping centers etc. as well as on vacation. Online will continue to grow with consumers making decisions based on online research and reviews.”

What challenges will preschool retailers face during 2021?

“We will face, as ever, challenges from companies such as Amazon who often sell cheap products that are simply not safe and do not meet UK regulations. We believe it is important to instill trust and grow our loyal customer base. One way we are also doing this is by developing our programme of corporate social responsibility, supporting charities such as Tiny Life (for premature babies) and Clic Sargent (child cancer). I hope the independent retailer continues to claw back from the likes of Amazon. This is important and is happening in countries such as France.”

Will high street retail bounce back?

“Unfortunately, it won’t. There is no confidence in bricks and mortar shopping any longer. First the coffee shops started to take over and then came Covid-19, the nail in the coffin. Everyone is getting used to online shopping now.”

How have you prepared for any possible supply chain issues following the new Brexit trade agreement?

“We carry a vast amount of stock and always plan ahead, way ahead. We invested in a huge warehouse facility, new staff and professional advice from Brexit experts. We have taken on new lines such as Noordi prams, Cocoon furniture, Forrest bedding and Dulo toys, so we are all stocked up and ready for a busy 2021.”

And what is your big hope for 2021?

“A successful vaccine roll out is my big hope! This will ensure our economy will recover and give people the confidence they need. We hope that consumer shows will start up again asap. And trade shows, of course! People need to see new products and ‘shows’ are the best place to showcase innovation and give the nursery industry a much-needed injection of excitement. My greatest hope of all is that Harrogate will happen! We all miss it, don’t we?”

Precious Little One
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