UK's oldest postcard firm set to close


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When was the last time you sent a postcard?

If the pronouncement of UK publisher J Salmon is anything to go by it’s likely to have been a long time ago.

The family-owned firm, which has been publishing postcards and calendars since 1880, will close this December.

The reason? It says instead of penning a card, people are putting photos up on Facebook or Instagram or using WhatsApp to show friends and family at home just how much fun they’re having.

Brothers Charles and Harry Salmon, the fifth generation of the family to run the firm, said the popularity of social media had had a huge impact on the business.

People are also tending to take shorter holidays, meaning they are likely to have arrived home long before their postcards, the brothers – joint managing directors of the firm – said.

As a result the business was no longer viable, they said.

“Increasingly challenging trading conditions and changes to the nature and size of the market for its publications have resulted in uncertainty over the viability of its trade,” the brothers wrote in a letter to suppliers and newsagents.

As a result they were announcing “a proposal to withdraw from publishing”.

‘Replaced by social media’

The number of postcards sold each year is reported to have seen a dramatic slump to about five million from 20 million just 25 years ago.

Jordan Girardin, a travel historian and lecturer, said when postcards were first invented in the late 19th century “there was a need for a more visual experience, a more visible promotion of travel”.

“The cheap postcard that we use just to send a message has been replaced by social media I’m afraid,” he said.

J Salmon, which originally started out as a stationer’s shop and general printing business, has always printed its products in Sevenoaks in Kent.

But the firm said that as well as the drop in the number of postcards sent, “we have also had to consider that there are no more members of the family who wish to join the business”.


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