Greetings Today magazine, giving you the bigger picture

Calendar firms step up to deal with bank hol date change

Late announcement of VE Day move causes issues with some product already in store


CHANGING the date of the early May bank holiday for next year’s VE Day 75th anniversary celebrations has come too late for most of the UK’s calendar publishers and they’re busy working out ways to deal with the issue.

The Government have only just made the announcement but production for 2020 calendars and diaries is well under way – with many stores already having stock on their shelves.
At Carousel Calendars, who distributed 6.7million calendars for 2019, they had all their 215 regional titles (pictured) for the new year in stock by the end of April and MD Steve Plackett told Greetings Today: “Our regionals are already in WH Smiths and Waterstones stores as well as many independents so getting the news last weekend was just too late for us.
“The few titles that haven’t started printing yet have already been corrected and any reprints – well over one million units – will also be correct.
"We and the majority, if not all, of the other major calendar publishers in the UK have printed a large proportion of titles already. I’ve spoken personally to, or had email conversations with six other major publishers who are in the same position.”
And today, Friday, June 14, Carousel confirmed they have now arranged with two retailers to put a notification about the date change from Monday, May 4, 2020, to Friday, May 8, and are speaking to others.
The only other time the early May bank holiday has been moved was in 1995 for the 50th anniversary of the Victory In Europe Day, marking the end of fighting against Nazi Germany across Europe on May 8, 1945, near the end of World War Two.
Despite this precedent which was revealed in December 1993, the Government only announced their decision on Friday, June 7, with Business Secretary Greg Clark saying: “It will ensure as many people as possible have the opportunity to remember and honour our heroes of the Second World War and reflect on the sacrifices of a generation.”
The holiday will form part of a three-day weekend of commemorative events including more than 20,000 pubs encouraging people to toast the heroes of the war, while churches will take part in a Ringing Out For Peace peal of bells.
As well as Carousel, other major suppliers to the greetings industry who could be affected by the change include Danilo, BrownTrout, Flame Tree, teNeues, Pomegranate, Collins-Debden, and Museums & Galleries.
Allan + Bartram have announced it will cost them £200,000 to reprint all the May pages to then have hand-inserted into the 400,000 calendars already printed.
Mainly corporate and bespoke product manufacturers, MD Andrew Bennett told the BBC: “It’s probably been the single most stressful week that I have ever faced in business.
“They announced the 50th anniversary change in December 1993, that was absolutely fine. There was no reason why this decision couldn't have been made 18 months ago.
“We're totally in agreement with changing the date – just not changing it with 11 months’ notice, when you've had 74 years to prepare for this event.”
The British Printing Industry Federation, who represent about 1,300 printing businesses, said while they welcome the commemoration of VE day, they believe the Government should have consulted with groups that would be affected by the change.
“A number of members will lose money due to calendars and diaries for 2020 being printed already,” said MD Dale Wallis, “it’s my understanding that there is no opportunity for compensation. This could cause serious cash flow issues, and therefore other issues for those businesses affected.”

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