Budget greetings card retailer Card Factory has bucked the high street downturn with a good sales performance across its store network and online businesses.
The Wakefield-based company which has stores in Dundee, Arbroath, Leven, Perth and Glenrothes, reported a 3.1% rise in like-for-like sales growth during the six months to July 31 at a time when many rivals are seeing sales fall.
Underlying group sales rose 6.7% and the group is progressing with its expansion programme, opening 30 net new stores over the half year period.
It said it is on track to open 50 new stores this year and it currently has 895 stores.
Card Factory said it is expanding and improving its range of card and non-card products available on its websites, both personalised and non-personalised, as it targets a significant increase in its share of this lucrative segment of the market.
The group said the improved trading performance at its website Getting Personal is an early response to actions, including the recruitment of a new senior team, and it is aiming for revenue growth of 10%, up from 5% currently.
Despite headwinds from foreign exchange movements and the national living wage, the group remains highly cash generative, driven by strong operating margins, limited working capital absorption and relatively low capital expenditure requirements.
It’s policy is to return surplus cash to shareholders and it will provide an update on the size and timing of the next distribution when it announces interim results on September 26.
Chief executive Karen Hubbard said: “It is pleasing to report that the strong sales performance highlighted in our first quarter announcement has continued into the second quarter, delivering a very good first half both in terms of overall and like-for-like store sales.
“Our store expansion programme remains on track and we are pleased with the performance of this year’s openings, including strong sales from the increased proportion of openings in retail parks.
“The board’s expectations for the full financial year remain unchanged.”