In response to the uncertainties being faced by the party and fancy dress industry during the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, Progressive Party hosted an online conference, bringing together leading representatives from key suppliers across the UK.
The hour-long meeting took place last Friday (27 March) and saw high-profile names from a wide range of suppliers (Amscan, Creative Party, Morph Costumes, Neviti, Palmer Agencies, Rubie’s and Smiffys) putting their competitive nature to one side and speaking candidly about the current situation.
Hosted by Progressive Party’s Rob Willis, the conversation covered a number of different areas, with participants looking to share tips, circulate information and ultimately support one another during the coming weeks and months.
The discussion took a collaborative approach and covered a diverse range of topics, ranging from high street recovery and credit terms to delivery challenges and disrupted supply chains.
It was widely agreed that it was good for both retailers and suppliers that the enforced lockdown came just after a strong World Book Day. It was also acknowledged that while no-one is making any significant sales at the moment, there are still some small pockets of business out there, with a few mail-order and online businesses managing to remain somewhat operational.
The real question – how long this will last for – was of course impossible to answer. Some suppliers are expecting business to pick up again by June, while others are looking further into the future and holding out for a strong end to the summer.
It was unanimously agreed that while it may not offer the boost many were expecting (and had budgeted for), Halloween business is unlikely to be too badly affected. Product which would normally arrive in the UK by May will be shipped in by July, giving retailers plenty of time to stock up for this year’s Saturday event.
The importance of keeping fancy dress and party front of mind as much as possible via social media and other opportunities was also discussed. One thing everyone agreed on was that, when the current Government restrictions have been lifted and life has returned to ‘normal’, there will be a significant boost in the market for party product of all types.