Down here in West Wales, we did get word of the Christmas jumper trend last year but, to be honest, we didn’t think it was one that would travel (or survive).
So, they certainly didn’t play any part whatsoever in our range planning and budgeting last January.
But now they are everywhere. And we have some - actually quite a lot. We have heard that there are some tasteful ones out there, but that is not a road we have chosen to go down. Ours are displayed in all their acrylic glory - a superb selection of penguins, Santas and incredibly goofy-looking reindeer in a startling assortment of unnatural and unflattering colours.
They are sitting happily alongside our range of extremely tasteful, carefully selected and lovingly merchandised stock, looking entirely out of place, as if they had landed from another planet.
But we just keep on reordering them. Our usually impeccably dressed customers are falling over themselves to get their hands on one. We like to think they are being bought with a sense of irony, but we can’t swear to it. My husband excelled himself when he managed to sell one to the driver who was dropping off the latest delivery of them, then five minutes later another to our solicitor.
They’re making people smile, which is wonderful. We’ve had years of bad news and gloom, and, if anything, things are going to get worse in our part of the world before they get better. But you look at these jumpers, and for a few minutes you just can’t take life too seriously.
And for a retailer they’re a great reminder of however professionally you approach your business, however hard you work at it, however much you agonise over every single and minute buying decision, in the end you just cannot second guess the customer.And, in this case, why would you even want to ?
- Elaine Black