Card Factory Starts Opening Concessions And Trials A Franchised Store

Card Factory has delivered what its ceo Karen Hubbard summed up as “solid interim results with overall sales growth, despite the weak consumer environment and particularly challenging footfall across the high street, driven by various factors.”

However, while the value card chain’s overall sales were up by 3.3% in the six month period to 31 July 2018, its profitability was impacted by a drop in like-for-like sales, which dipped marginally (0.2%).

“Despite this difficult consumer backdrop, we have seen record numbers for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day both in terms of volume and value. This strong seasonal performance gives us confidence for the key Christmas trading period,” stated Karen in the company’s official statement.

As well as its own programme of store openings (on course for 50 additional stores in the full year), the interim statement also make reference to Card Factory trialling different methods of extending its market penetration.

Above: Part of Card Factory’s strategy to expand its market penetration is a trial with Aldi.
Above: Part of Card Factory’s strategy to expand its market penetration is a trial with Aldi.

In addition to the trial with Aldi (as reported by PG Buzz a week ago (www.pgbuzz.net/card-factory-in-trials-with-aldi-selling-cards-in-12-stores/), which has seen units of Card Factory products installed on a dedicated fixture in 12 Aldi stores, Card Factory is to also open its first franchised unit next month. Plus it is also exploring the benefits of operating as a concession within other retailing outlets. Two concessions have already opened with another four being currently kitted out.

On the online front, although its Getting Personal platform is still “challenging”, the Card Factory branded online site is doing well, up 85%, albeit from a low base, and is on track to be profitable this year.

Commenting on trade since the end of July, Karen admits that the trading has “remained challenging given the weak consumer environment” but is encouraged by a continued growth in average spend and improved performance of its redesigned everyday ranges.

Above: Karen Hubbard, Card factory ceo with retail operations director Ian McEnvoy at The Retas last year.
Above: Karen Hubbard, Card factory ceo with retail operations director Ian McEnvoy at The Retas last year.

“We remain positive about the growth prospects for the business over the medium term,” she said.

Those in the industry have an opportunity to hear more of what Karen has to say about the industry and Card Factory at the GCA AGM & Conference on October 17 (taking place at Knebworth Hall) where she is one of the keynote speakers.

To book tickets, contact Sharon Little at the GCA on gca@max-publishing.co.uk

Top: Card Factory says it is on course to open 50 new stores in its full financial year.

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