“We delivered a robust performance for the year, maintaining flat like-for-like sales despite a tough consumer environment,” commented Karen Hubbard, ceo of Card Factory as she presented the annual results for the UK’s largest greeting card retailer.
The results revealed that while its sales for the year to 31 January 2019 grew 3.3% this was largely achieved through the opening of new stores, with an additional 51 stores being opened in the 12 month period. This means Card Factory was trading from 972 (including seven in the Republic of Ireland).
Card Factory’s revenue reached £436 million (up from £422.1 million the year previous) with a pre-tax profit of £66.3 million (down 8.3% on the previous year).
Karen acknowledges the company’s results as having been impacted by a drop in retail footfall generally but highlights how the Spring Seasons have held up exceptionally well for Card Factory, revealing “record seasonal performances for Valentine’s and Mother’s Day.” She also cites the further improvements in its card ranges and designs, notably the new premium everyday card ranges as contributing to holding the line on like-for-like sales.
With the opening of new stores seen as the retailer’s most likely route for growth, Karen revealed that the company is extending its goal of trading from 1,200 stores to an even greater number. This future growth is not confined to the UK with international opportunities also to be pursued.
Karen makes reference to the trials underway in Aldi in the UK (in which it has dedicated card displays in 121 stores), in The Reject Shop in Australian retailer (https://www.pgbuzz.net/card-factory-opens-concessions-in-australia/), as well as with a franchise partner in Jersey. She believes that performance in these other retailers’ environments “show that the Card Factory brand is a footfall driver that has real resonance; we will pursue these types of opportunities to open new routes to market where we see attractive returns.”
Looking to the future, Karen revealed that Card Factory hinted of “further initiatives” planned for the retailer for the current year which will include bringing more of its production back to the UK.
While considerable growth was experienced on its online Cardfactory.co.uk site (up 56.3% year on year), performance from the group’s Gettingpersonal site was disappointing affected by increasing cost of customer acquisition and promotional-led competitor pricing.
Top: Card Factory is now looking to grow to more than 1,200 stores globally.