“The most frustrating part of December was the way customers were behaving. While some were amazingly supportive and understanding, the minority who were impatient and downright rude really spoiled some days for us,” states Liane Philips, director of Marchmont Hardware in Edinburgh.
Liane recognises a shift in consumer behaviour since the arrival of Covid-19, admitting: “I have had to deal with more difficult situations over the pandemic than in the other 32 years in the business.” She reflects: “I sometimes wonder if they think we actually design and manufacture all the items in the tiny back shop and can produce items at will, along with no price increases! The behaviours of the customer have certainly changed since the pandemic and not for the better.”
Looking back at Christmas trade, Liane reports that the period from the end of November to the second week of December “was looking very good at almost pre pandemic levels.” However, footfall dropped when the Scottish government issued the message to “stay at home as much as possible.”
The shop had a “good response” from one of its two open nights but cancelled the second due to the re-introduction of number restrictions and social distancing in Scotland. Prior to that, customers had enjoyed browsing, “and many customers had commented on how nice it was to browse and not feel rushed as they had the previous year,” notes Liane.
Bestselling Christmas gifts at Marchmont Hardware included the ever-popular Dreamfarm Mini Supoon, coasters, mugs and tea towels from Heather and Haggis (a local supplier designing and making Scottish based gifts), Zyliss Rock Pearl Non-stick Frying Pans, Opinel Knives, Netherton Foundry Cookware and Zeal Steam Stop Oven Gloves.
Top: Housewares products on the Christmas tree at Marchmont Hardware.