Historic postcard manufacturer set to close

By Rhys Handley, Friday 29 September 2017

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J Salmon, the oldest postcard printer and publisher in the UK, is set to close in December after 140 years.

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J Salmon has been printing postcards since 1890

The Daily Telegraph described the news as "the end of the postcard".

Citing the rise of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as the greatest detriment to their business, managing directors and brothers Charles and Harry Salmon made their decision public by sending a letter to suppliers and customers, newsagents and tourist shops. It will bring the business to an end after nearly 140 years.

The business will continue to trade as normal until it closes.

UK sales of postcards are estimated to have fallen from around 20 million in 1992 down to 5 million today.

Founded in 1880 as a stationer and general printer, the company went on to specialise in postcards and calendars. It has operated at the same site in Sevenoaks, Kent, since 1919.

“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 our trade,” the Salmon brothers wrote.

“Changing spending and holiday patterns and new technology have had a huge effect on the business. People are going for shorter breaks, not for a fortnight, so you're back home before your postcards have arrived.

“We have also had to consider that there are no more members of the family who wish to join the business.”

J Salmon began publishing postcards 10 years into its life, in 1890. Charles and Harry Salmon are the fifth generation of their family to run the company. They, along with 50 staff, will continue to work at J Salmon until December to manage an orderly wind-down of the business.

Printing completely in-house, the company initially used multiple presses but now does all its work on a five-colour, B1 Komori. The press is currently in the process of being sold, according to Harry Salmon, along with various pieces of finishing kit, used for the company’s calendars, and its 2,300sqm premises.

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