The Card Factory today (9 August) announced its trading update for the six months ended 31 July 2018. The Group reported strong sales performances in its seasonal ranges, including a record Father’s Day in both volume and value terms. However, with extreme weather conditions impacting high street footfall and continued consumer caution across the UK, like-for-like sales for the Card Factory store network fell by -0.7%.
The Group opened 25 new UK stores bringing the total UK estate to 940 stores, remaining on track to deliver approximately 50 net new UK stores in the current financial year including a number of retail park stores. There was also one new store opening in the Republic of Ireland, bringing the total number of stores in that region to seven.
Karen Hubbard, Card Factory’s chief executive officer, said: “We continue to experience a weak consumer environment, made all the more challenging by the impact of this year’s extreme weather conditions on high street footfall. The performance of our seasonal ranges has been strong, with our best ever Father’s Day in terms of volume and value, although we recognise there has to be more focus on our Everyday ranges, which have lagged the seasonal performance.”
Karen Hubbard is likely to come under pressure over the latest financials despite the fact that Card Factory is out-performing most retailers and is continuing to grow its estate. The Sunday Times made a dig in its edition last Sunday (5 August). The newspaper reported that “Karen Hubbard is likely to be grilled by analysts over her promise to deliver underlying earnings growth for the full year.” Card Factory’s like-for-like sales have been down in both the first and second quarters.
- Card Factory continues to grow its social media presence with its latest video on YouTube promoting the benefits of working for the retailer.