Five minutes with: Stuart Wheeler, Delights Direct

Hi Stuart, hope you’re well! How’s business going in the run-up to Christmas?

“Hello – I’m very well thanks. Business has been very good in the run up to Christmas actually and it’s been a good second half of 2018 overall for us, after a tougher start to the year.”

That’s good to hear! What sort of thing are people asking for at the moment?

“There’s a wide spread of items as usual, but we have noticed that there is real demand for Christmas packaging this year. We have done really well with Christmas Eve boxes, gift bags and even giant gift sacks for bikes. I’m thinking of wrapping myself up in one for my wife’s Christmas present as she is difficult to buy for.”

How long do you expect Christmas orders to be coming in for?

“I expect orders to be coming in right up until the last delivery. Our customers have always used the next day delivery to service their last minute clients and I’m sure this year won’t be any different. Unfortunately that means we have to stay off the sherry until Christmas Eve.”

Does that reflect the way business has been throughout 2018 in general? Have retailers been proactive in placing orders and sourcing new stock?

“We have seen the same healthy mix of both stocking up orders and reactive orders for quick turnaround. For us, that mix has stayed the same as previous years on seasonal. We haven’t seen any real shifts towards the latter.”

And what about next year – how far into 2019 have you been planning so far? And what’s in store for retailers?

“We are already making tentative plans for Halloween believe it or not. We are currently looking at advertising for the early part of the year, as the micro seasons come thick and fast, plus if the you take into account that Carnival is a little later next year, it will be a busy time for sure. As we know that all manufacturers are experiencing some delays in importing, it is good to put the seasonal buying to bed as early as possible.”

Sounds like there’s lots going on. Thanks for your time – have a great Christmas!

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