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Card Factory blames weather for like-for-like sales decline

Card Factory saw its like-for-like sales edge down 0.2% in the first half of its financial year as the greeting cards retailer was impacted by a weak consumer environment and “extreme weather”.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Card Factory blames weather for like-for-like sales decline

Card Factory saw its like-for-like sales edge down 0.2% in the first half of its financial year as the greeting cards retailer was impacted by a weak consumer environment and “extreme weather”.

In the six months to 31 July total group sales rose by 3.2%.

However, Card Factory said it now expects EBITDA for the full year to come in lower than previously thought at between £89 million and £91 million.

Karen Hubbard, Card Factory's chief executive, said: "We continue to experience a weak consumer environment, made all the more challenging by the impact of this year's extreme weather conditions on high street footfall.

"The performance of our seasonal ranges has been strong, with our best-ever Father's Day in terms of volume and value, although we recognise there has to be more focus on our everyday ranges, which have lagged the seasonal performance.”

During the period Card Factory added 25 net new stores to its UK network and is now on track for a target of around 50 openings for the full year. It also opened one new store in the Republic of Ireland, which means it now has a total of seven trial stores operating in the country.

The company said trading at its online Getting Personal business had been “challenging” as increased price competition and rising costs of customer acquisition affected trade, although its Card Factory website delivered strong growth.

Hubbard added: “Our key Q4 trading period will of course be critical in determining the final result for the year, but we believe we are well positioned to deliver a good performance in our important Christmas trading season."

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