Card Factory posts revenue growth thanks to store recovery and occasion boom

Card Factory posted 28 per cent revenue growth this morning to £364.4m thanks to the steady recovery of stores following the easing of lockdown restrictions, alongside an online performance significantly ahead of pre-pandemic levels.

Store sales were up 33 per cent for the full year reflecting a 20 per cent increase in trading days and recovery in market share. Store like for like sales for the Christmas season also recovered to near to pre-pandemic levels.

Card Factory’s revenue for online sales was down 1.5 per cent as people continue to flock back to stores.

Nonetheless, Card Factory Online revenue was up 135 per cent compared to full year 2020 results, reflecting expansion of product range online and improved customer experience, as well as accelerated shift in consumer online shopping behaviours.

Profit before tax hit £11.1m, ahead of management’s expectations despite significant trading disruption and inflationary cost pressures.

Discussing the results, chief executive Darcy Willson-Rymer, said: “As we reopened our stores, we saw our online performance decline slightly year on year; however, we remain greatly encouraged that our Card Factory online sales were significantly ahead of pre-pandemic levels.

“This year will see us make further progress in developing our customer proposition, through a broader product range and improved online experience, as part of our transition to a leading omnichannel retailer.”

Looking forward, the retailer of greeting cards, gifts, wrap and bags said it has taken pre-emptive action to help mitigate the inflationary pressures it is seeing across the business and will continue to monitor and respond to developing macro environmental pressures.

Trading in the new financial year has been in line with expectations and is contributing to a continued recovery of market share position. Card Factory is seeing some mix shift in the Spring seasons (Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day) towards everyday ranges, which typically represent 70% per cent of sales.

Card range developments driving sales uplift in key ranges such as wedding.

The focus is on creating opportunities across the store estate while building out the wider capability which will allow it to deliver the strategic initiatives and drive growth at pace.

Part of this will mean shifting from a store-led card retailer into a market leading, omnichannel retailer of cards and gifts.

As advised on 21 April, Card Factory has agreed terms on a refinancing with its current banking syndicate, extending debt facilities until September 2025. Card Factory has agreed revised terms on reduced facilities of £150 million thanks to its good progress in using its positive cash flows to reduce overall debt.

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