With the summer in full swing and Halloween just around the corner, we’re halfway through 2019 and there’s been plenty going on out there in the world of retail – both good and bad. Beck Lee-Allen, co-owner of Frog Orange Party in Oxford shares her opinion on the true state of Britain’s high streets in 2019.
How has business been for you in the first six months of 2019, in general?
“Certain elements of our business have been really tough. Fancy dress sales have been slow although accessories such as wigs and hats have been as good as ever. The balloon sales have been really strong but footfall is generally down.”
Do you think that the last six months have been a fair representation of the state of the party industry at the moment?
“Yes. I think the country as a whole is suffering with a slight paralysis due to the uncertainty around Brexit. There is also a helium shortage currently which is quite stressful. We’ve taken on another supplier but their prices are higher so our balloon prices have gone up.”
Have there been any particular crazes or fashions this year?
“Within the balloon industry the organic look is still extremely popular and the new colours that have been released this year by both Amscan and Qualatex have really helped us to create some great new looks.”
Have any areas of your business done particularly well this year so far?
“Balloons always. Personalised printed banners and sashes are still strong. Bespoke items are seen as value for money and customers are often surprised that they can walk out with something beautiful and personalised in just a few minutes. The greeting card market is still healthy too.”
How do you expect the rest of 2019 to be for your business?
“No idea. Let’s hope our politicians can get on and create some positivity again. The country is in a mess and struggling to function underneath a dark cloud of uncertainty. Tough times.”