Some winning, some losing in charity Christmas card sales

Mind is down 14%, but Barnardo's and British Heart Foundation both report increases

Charities have reported mixed fortunes in Christmas card sales so far this year.

Organisations such as mental health charity Mind and Cancer Research UK say sales are down on last year, but others have seen income from cards rise, despite the recent postal strikes.

Mind said it had sold 14 per cent fewer cards since September than during the same period last year. It said sales of cards between 8 and 14 November were lower than last year at 83 of 102 shops.

The average fall in the shops that had seen sales decline was 25 per cent, with sales at the charity's Erith branch in Kent falling by 74 per cent. This is despite footfall in Mind shops being up 4 per cent this year.

"Our concern is that Christmas cards might have dropped off the radar for some people," said Bob Monteath, managing director of Minds Matter, the business arm that runs the charity's shops.

He said October's postal strikes had led to a significant reduction in sales and might have caused shoppers to rethink the number of cards they sent, even though the threat of Christmas mail disruption had since been lifted.

But he also said trade was picking up, with sales down only 2 per cent on last year between 15 and 21 November.

Amie Ibrahimi-Brown, marketing and communications manager for CRUK's trading team, said the charity had sold fewer cards this year because people were shopping later.

The British Red Cross also attributed a slow start to people buying closer to Christmas and the postal strikes. Trade had started to pick up in the past few weeks, it said.

Save the Children's sales are on a par with last year after a "slow start", with Oxfam also matching its 2008 performance.

But festive cheer is in full swing at pet charity PDSA, where shoppers have been out in force earlier than in previous years.

Online sales of Barnardo's cards dropped by about 5 per cent during the strikes, but bounced back. Combined shop and internet card takings at the children's charity are now up 10 per cent on 2008.

Sales of cards in British Heart Foundation shops are up by 10 per cent. Aneesha Moreira, its director of fundraising, said the charity was working hard to promote its festive range.

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