Card Factory revenue up to £436m but profit falls

Shares of Wakefield-based greeting cards retailer Card Factory rose about 10% on Tuesday after it said its revenue grew 3.3% to £436 million in the year ended January 31 while statutory profit before tax fell 8.8% to £66.6 million.

Total dividend is maintained at 9.3p. A special dividend of 5p was paid in December 2018, and Card Factory said: “We remain focused on shareholder returns and committed to distributing surplus cash to shareholders; a further return is expected to be made towards the end of the FY20 financial year.”

Card Factory CEO Karen Hubbard said: “We delivered a robust performance for the year, maintaining flat like-for-like sales despite a tough consumer environment.

“Our focus has been on continual improvements to our customer offer, producing better, more innovative ranges of everyday and seasonal cards and maintaining our quality and value positioning, while also being more efficient and driving savings across the business.

“EBITDA for the year however, was impacted by lower footfall and Getting Personal’s disappointing performance. 

“We continue to look to leverage our unique, vertically integrated model to improve our competitive advantage and drive margins.

“We have further initiatives planned for the current year which will bring further production back to the UK, whilst also implementing additional plans that will allow an improved focus on customer service in store. 

“New stores remain our biggest growth channel, and we opened a net 51 in the year, with a good pipeline going forward.

“We are now also exploring other opportunities to extend our reach beyond 1,200 stores in the UK and internationally to drive profitable growth.

“Encouragingly, some initial trials with Aldi in the UK, in an Australian retailer, and with a franchise partner in Jersey show that the Card Factory brand is a footfall driver that has real resonance; we will pursue these types of opportunities to open new routes to market where we see attractive returns.  

“Whilst the new financial year is just two months old, we are satisfied with the start we have made and are particularly pleased with record seasonal performances from Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. 

“As previously stated, EBITDA for the forthcoming year is anticipated to be broadly flat year-on-year (excluding the impact of IFRS 16) in light of various external pressures, but we are confident we are laying the right foundations for future profit growth, whilst continuing to deliver healthy returns of cash to our shareholders.”