High Street

Card Factory performance ‘exceeds’ expectations

Card Factory’s performance has “exceeded” initial expectations since the reopening of its estate, with like-for-like sales down only 21.6%, against its anticipated reduction of 50% in the first month of reopening. 

Despite a decline in in-store transactions, the average spend has increased by 24.9% since lockdown.

According to the group, online sales also exceeded sales from the year prior, with like-for-like sales rocketing 68.9% for the current year to 19 July 2020.

Online like-for-like sales soared by 120.7% during lockdown, and since stores began to reopen, were up by 60.5%.

In its latest trading update, Card Factory said its aggregate revenue for the half-year period ended 31 July 2020 is now expected to be around £100m, down from £195.6m the year prior, due to the material impact from store closures. 

Nonetheless, the group said it has “carefully” continued to manage costs, cash and creditors.

Its net debt is currently £144.2m, which is below its original forecast. This is largely due to the increased revenues that exceeded expectations, a range of cost-cutting measures and improved terms agreed with suppliers, as well as good management of its stock intake.

In a statement, the group said: “The board is pleased with the trading performance since stores have reopened; however, it is far too soon to determine whether initial trading reflects the release of pent-up demand following lockdown or the point at which consumer footfall and sales (both transactions and average spend) will settle to a sustainable level.”

The group has now reopened 1,015 of its 1,018 stores since lockdown across the nation eased. The group does, however, anticipate around nine store closures by the end of the current financial year.

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