Card Factory has recorded solid growth in the Christmas trading period, driven by a combination of like-for-like sales growth and new store roll out.
Accompanying the stationery retailer’s trading update today was the announcement that its chief financial officer Darren Bryant has decided to retire after eight years with the company – but he will stay on until a successor is found.
Card Factory’s total sales in the 11 month period ending December were up 4.3 per cent, with like-for-like sales increasing 0.4 per cent.
This was a slowdown compared to the previous year’s 8.1 per cent and 2.8 per cent growth respectively.
The retailer said it expected to exceed analysts’ expectations for underlying profit before tax for the full-year period to January 31, which is between £80.9 million and £83 million.
Card Factory opened 51 new stores the 11-month period covering in the latest trading update, bringing the total estate to 865 stores as at 31 December 2016.
The retailer said it was confident in continuing its opening rate of approximately 50 new stores per annum for the year ahead.
“As I approach my first anniversary with the business, it is pleasing to report that Card Factory has traded well through the competitive Christmas trading period with customers once again responding well to our card and non-card ranges,” chief executive Karen Hubbard said.
“As a result, like-for-like store sales in the fourth quarter of the financial year have returned to our expected range.
“Whilst all retailers will clearly face cost pressures in 2017, the proven strength of our retail proposition, underpinned as ever by our unique vertically integrated model, provides our business with significant competitive advantage.”