Holiday Sales Numbers the Best Gift for Wrapping Paper Industry

In addition to strong cyber sales and retail numbers for the holiday season, wrapping paper also came out shining.

According to the Wall Street Journal, wrapping paper manufacturers and retailers have reported sales numbers last seen in 2007. Industry data is not yet available, but gift wrap makers are reporting double-digit growth. In 2010, the industry reported gift wrap sales at $9.36 billion, representing a four percent rise from 2009, reported Sundale Research.

The firm had expected sales to be even stronger in 2011.

One company already reporting gains is the Georgia-based Gift Wrap Company, one of the nation’s oldest wrapping paper manufacturers. Gift Wrap, which is a division of International Greetings USA (NYSE:IGR), sells their wrapping paper to big box retailers and specialty stores. Rich Eckman, International Greetings USA’s Chief Executive, recently said that he expected wrapping paper sales to rise 5-10%.

How did the company boost sales? They offered wrapping papers rolls at $1.99 with different paper offerings and a shortened product length. Sales at dollar stores rose, according to the company, thanks to consumers continued cautious spending on gift wrapping.

Eckman said, “It’s the traditional colors, traditional Santa icons and snowmen. Those kinds of things never go out of style.”

Other sales increases have been seen at American Greetings Corp (NYSE:AM) and The Container Store, which reported its upscale wrapping paper, such as its $9.99 red holiday pearl mosaic paper, has risen 10% from last year and the sales numbers “are matching what we saw in 2007 before the recession,” said Sharon Tindell, Chief Merchandising Officer at The Container Store.

For the past decade, U.S. gift wrap makers have struggled with overseas competition and a growing preference for gift bags and gift cards. Some department stores such as Macy’s (NYSE:M) have discontinued gift wrapping services while smaller stores now offer a greater variety of paper, bows and ribbons to draw in customers.

From holiday estimates increased from initial September forecasts of 0.7% to 3.7%, according to ShopperTrak Inc., and sales rising 1.3% from the previous year through December 17, the highest grossing days were expected to come the week before Christmas, thanks to the holiday falling on Sunday.

In addition, comScore Inc reported (NASDAQ:SCOR) that online sales jumped 15% to $32 billion through December 18.

With the increased sales numbers comes more gifts that need to be gift-wrapped. This is a good sign for the wrapping paper industry in 2011.

Further Reading: U.S. Stores Offering Bigger Discounts to Keep Up Post-Christmas Demand>>