LONDON: High street gift card retailer Card Factory has achieved a ‘solid’ set of results despite industry-wide challenges.
Like-for-like sales growth for Card Factory in the six months to 31 July 2017, has increased by 3.1 per cent with roughly 30 per cent growth from the company’s website.
Revenues at the Wakefield-headquartered business increased to £179.6m from £169.2m in the same period last year, a rise of 6.1 per cent.
The business’ profit before tax did take a dip from £27m to £23.2m, a drop of 14.1 per cent, but the margins were impacted by foreign exchange and national living wage headwinds combined with investment for the future.
Card Factory has opened 30 net new UK stores in the period, bringing the total UK estate to 895 and also opened a trial store in the Republic of Ireland, with a further three having opened since the half year end.
Chief executive Karen Hubbard said: “We have delivered a solid set of interim results with strong growth in like-for-like sales and total revenue, despite the decline in footfall seen across the high street; however, profitability over the half year was impacted by foreign exchange, national living wage and some of the important investments we are making in the business for longer term growth.
“Our business model remains highly cash generative and we are pleased to be announcing another special dividend of 15 pence per share.
“Together with the interim dividend, this means we will have returned £246.5m to shareholders since IPO in May 2014. The board intends to retain its progressive ordinary dividend policy and to continue to return any surplus funds to shareholders whilst giving consideration to the leverage of the business.
She added: “We are the clear leaders in the greeting card market, with a strong proposition which is resonating well with customers despite challenges in the wider consumer environment.
“Our unique operating model continues to differentiate us from the competition, allowing us to strengthen our market-leading position. Trading in recent weeks has been similar to the encouraging trends seen in the first half, with continued growth in average spend as customers respond well to our new and better ranges.
“The board is confident that the group will continue to make further strategic progress, although notes that the full year profit outturn will reflect a continuation of some of the headwinds identified in the first half.
“We remain as convinced as ever of the strong growth prospects for the business.”