Card Factory first-half revenue up 3.2% to £185m

Wakefield-based greeting cards retailer Card Factory said on Tuesday its revenue rose 3.2% to £185.3 million but underlying profit before tax fell 13.9% to £22.7 million for the six months ended July 31 amid a “challenging consumer environment.”

Card Factory said it continues to expect underlying EBITDA for the full year to be in the range of £89 million to £91 million.

An unchanged interim dividend of 2.9p was declared as well as a special dividend of 5p per share.

The firm said it has returned a total of £295.4 million to shareholders via dividends since its IPO in May 2014.

Card Factory CEO Karen Hubbard said: “We have delivered solid interim results with overall sales growth, despite the weak consumer environment and particularly challenging footfall across the high street, driven by various factors.

“Profitability was impacted by lower like-for-like sales, but we continue to largely mitigate the headwinds we face through various business efficiencies.

Despite this difficult consumer backdrop, we have seen record numbers for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day both in terms of volume and value.

“This strong seasonal performance gives us confidence for the key Christmas trading period.

“Our business model remains highly cash generative and, further to previous guidance, we are pleased to be announcing another special dividend of 5.0 pence per share, which is consistent with our capital policy.

“Combined with a 2.9 pence per share interim dividend, this means we will have returned almost £300m to shareholders since our IPO in May 2014.

“As expected, trading in recent weeks has remained challenging given the weak consumer environment, but we have seen continued growth in average spend and improved performance of redesigned Everyday ranges.

“The board is confident that the group will continue to make further strategic progress on new initiatives. 

“We remain positive about the growth prospects for the business over the medium term.”