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2020 Vision: “We aim to wow…” grabs five minutes behind the scenes with Sergio Battaner, sales and marketing director at Palmer Agencies to find out more about his 2020 vision.

With Christmas and NYE on the horizon, how is your year closing out?

“So far, 2019 has been a year to take stock of the political/economic situation and frankly, it could also be considered as a missed opportunity. The uncertainty in the UK about its trading position in the future has played against its potential with many people withholding investment and expansion plans as we still do not know what is going to happen. At the same time, Halloween was as expected: not a disaster yet not a roaring success. 2020 will clear this dilemma and make it a success.”

It’s been a difficult year for retailers – what would you like to say to all your loyal customers and stockists?

“In the party sector, retailers have been ever squeezed by market places. Yet ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers still stand, defiant, sharper than ever and with a keen eye not only for buying but also to reach customers. Many of the old retail rules have had to be re-written but the essence remains: Have pleasant staff that help and are not intrusive; buy the right product, not the cheapest product; be knowledgeable and offer a range of options.

Online, the pressure is coming directly from price pressures, grey imports and cowboys who are ignoring all regulations on safety, copyright and other legal matters which are being hidden by the ‘anonymity’ that some marketplaces can offer. We aim to deal with reputable, honourable businesses online and we make a point of not supplying those who do not play according to the rules.”

Obviously Palmer Agencies is a seasonal expert – what’s been the biggest boost to business over the past 12 months?

“As we work across many seasons, we have to wear different hats depending on the year. We remain as the go-to supplier when it comes to Halloween. Specialists want to talk to us about good products and how to’, not the ‘cheap stuff’ on sale in pound shops/discounted warehouses. Other seasons remain important with Christmas and Festival/Pride season at the forefront.”

What has been your very best seller this year – anything unexpected?

“To be honest, our predictions were spot on (always a plus from a business point of view) and clowns, dragons and certain traditional Halloween characters remained at the top of the sales list.”

Where will we see you on the New Year trade show trail?

“We will be showing in Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg (Hall 9 , Stand C73) in a very central location. This is great show for us and we aim to impress our customers and friends in the continent. We will also be at Spring Fair (Hall 5 Stand F74), with a much bigger stand, in a newer and better location and showing all our new lines for 2020.”

What can people expect to find on those stands – will there be many new products?

“We aim to WOW. Otherwise it would be a complete waste of money! We have been working hard in the past couple of months to review our range and its weaknesses, renew the offering with clear winners and surprise with on trend products that will give specialists a great chance of making it a profitable 2020.”

And finally, can you share your overall prediction for the costume and party trade in 2020?

“I believe this will be a transition year with the added bonus of a Saturday Halloween – expect sales growth throughout!  This year’s themes will continue to be on trend with a few notable additions yet to be revealed!”

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