Sending out a confident message about the greeting card sector as a whole, Card Factory, the UK’s largest greeting card retailer has today (January 13) issued a trading update stating that its performance is almost back to pre-Covid levels.
The announcement, which has been well received by the City, reveals that Card Factory is trading ahead of expectations, with sales having shown an upward path of recovering since last April when the shops were allowed to open after the last lockdown.
Card Factory’s trading recovered particularly strongly in December with like for like store sales returning to similar levels of 2019.
“Christmas card sales performed particularly well,” details the update and while acknowledging that some other products were affected by global supply chain issues in late November and early December, this disruption is deemed to have only had a “modest impact” on sales.
Card Factory’s store sales for the 11 months to 31 December of £310 million represented a LFL decline of 5.4% on a two year basis while its online sales increased 23.3% to £22.2 million. However, in December alone, sales were only down a smidge, 1.4% like for like.
Sales from Card Factory’s retail partnership (such as its distribution in Aldi) increased 24% in the 11 months over the two year period, generating an additional £4 million in sales.
Commenting, Darcy Willson-Rymer, ceo of Card Factory said: “We continue to see improved trading performance across all channels, with transaction volumes in our stores outperforming high street footfall recovery, demonstrating the loyalty of our customers and strength of the brand. The customer response to our Christmas ranges was particularly strong, across both card and complementary product ranges.”
He also warned of necessary price increases, but is also braced for a bruising of its profit margins. “Whilst we expect to be able to offset inflationary pressures to an extent through price increases across our ranges, we do anticipate some margin pressure during the next financial year, as the forecasted inflationary headwinds continue,” he added.