Card Factory has confirmed its full-year expectations remained unchanged and remained on track to open more new stores despite recording a slowdown in growth in its latest trading update.
For the nine months to October 31, the specialist retailer in greeting cards, dressings and gifts recorded a total sales growth of 4.4 per cent – compared to 7.9 per cent that was recorded in the same nine-month period in 2015.
Card Factory attributed the slowdown to lower retail footfall and weekly sales patterns in the second half to date have been varied.
Twelve new stores were opened in the three-month period ending October 31, bringing a total of 46 new store openings for the nine-month period to date.
This brings Card Factory’s total estate to 860 stores, comparted to 809 in the same period last year, and the retailer said it remained on track to deliver approximately 50 net new stores in the current financial year.
Meanwhile, year-on-year sales performance at the retailer’s gettingpersonal.co.uk website continued to be flat with improvements in average spend being offset by lower visitor numbers.
As a result, recent management changes were implemented to enable the team to drive sales and profit growth.
Card Factory’s other website, cardfactory.co.uk, continued to grow from a low base.
“The general retail environment has remained challenging with adverse footfall trends impacting customer traffic into our stores,” chief executive Karen Hubbard said.
“We remain wary of the uncertain outlook for consumer confidence, although we are pleased to note that, since the start of October, weekly sales patterns for everyday ranges in our stores have started to improve.
“We enter the important final quarter with an excellent Christmas offering, both in our card ranges and an expanded choice of seasonal gifts.
“Whilst it is always difficult to forecast short term footfall trends, we remain confident that the quality and value of our extensive range will continue to appeal to consumers.”