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Card Factory hit by tough trading environment

Greeting cards retailer Card Factory saw its like-for-like sales slip by 0.4% in its first quarter as it struggled against a tough retail environment and subdued footfall in its stores.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Card Factory hit by tough trading environment

Greeting cards retailer Card Factory saw its like-for-like sales slip by 0.4% in its first quarter as it struggled against a tough retail environment and subdued footfall in its stores.

In the three months to 30 April group sales rose by 3%.

Karen Hubbard, Card Factory's chief executive, said: "We have had a solid start to the year with further sales growth despite an ongoing sector trend of subdued footfall, which impacted the like-for-like performance. We have seen a good customer reaction to our seasonal products over the quarter, with record card volumes for both Valentine's Day and Mother's Day, as we continue to improve the range and quality of card and non-card options.“

During the period Card Factory opened ten net new stores in the UK to bring the total estate to 925. It also launched one shop in the Republic of Ireland and plans to open a further seven pilot stores in the country.

The company said online revenues at cardfactory.co.uk saw strong growth as customers responded well to a range expansion and new designs across its card and non-card products.

However, the trading performance at gettingpersonal.co.uk continued to be disappointing as it faced a market environment of heavy discounting and an increasing customer acquisition cost. The company is now adopting a more cost effective method of acquiring customers to help improve profitability.

Looking ahead, Hubbard added: "Overall, Card Factory remains in a strong position as we look forward to the lessening impact of cost headwinds and the benefits of a significant number of business efficiencies being implemented during the year. This will put in place a platform for further growth in the medium term.”

The company said its expectations for the full financial year remain unchanged.

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