‘Robust performance’ for Card Factory despite challenging environment

Sales up for Card Factory despite ‘challenging consumer environment’
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Wakefield’s Card Factory has bucked the challenging high street environment and delivered a rise in revenue and sales growth.

For the year ended 31 January 2019, revenue rose 3.3% to reach £436 million, while there was a reported 2.9% rise in like-for-like sales growth.

Underlying EBITDA, meanwhile, was up 4.9% to £94 million, with underlying operating profit witnessing an 8.7% rise to £83.4 million.

The greetings cards and gifts retailer said that it had delivered flat like-for-like sales despite a widespread decline in high street footfall.

The strong performance witnesses in its seasonal and non-card offering was underpinned by design and innovation, it said.

During the sales period, the retailer expanded its footprint and trialled new routes to market and formats through third party partnerships.

Profit for the 2019 financial year is “in line with expectations”, the retailer said.

“We delivered a robust performance for the year, maintaining flat like-for-like sales despite a tough consumer environment,” said CEO Karen Hubbard.

“Our focus has been on continual improvements to our customer offer, producing better, more innovative ranges of everyday and seasonal cards and maintaining our quality and value positioning, while also being more efficient and driving savings across the business.

“EBITDA for the year however, was impacted by lower footfall and Getting Personal’s disappointing performance.

“We continue to look to leverage our unique, vertically integrated model to improve our competitive advantage and drive margins.

“We have further initiatives planned for the current year which will bring further production back to the UK, whilst also implementing additional plans that will allow an improved focus on customer service in store.”

She added: “Whilst the new financial year is just two months old, we are satisfied with the start we have made and are particularly pleased with record seasonal performances from Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

“As previously stated, EBITDA for the forthcoming year is anticipated to be broadly flat year-on-year (excluding the impact of IFRS 16) in light of various external pressures, but we are confident we are laying the right foundations for future profit growth, whilst continuing to deliver healthy returns of cash to our shareholders.”