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Card Factory sales growth impacted by softer footfall

Greeting cards retailer Card Factory has reported that like-for-like sales edged up 0.2% in the first half of its financial year as trade was boosted by ongoing strong growth in online sales on its new website.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Card Factory sales growth impacted by softer footfall

Excluding the website, like-for-like sales in stores were broadly flat at -0.1% in the six months to 31 July. As reported for the first quarter, consistently strong growth in average spend was offset by lower transaction numbers.

Meanwhile, total revenue increased by 4.8% in the period.

The company said it is confident of delivering full year underlying pre-tax profit of between of £80.9 million to £86.7 million, in line with analysts' expectations

During the first half, Card Factory opened 34 net new stores to bring the total estate to 848 stores at 31 July. The company said it remains on track to deliver approximately 50 net new stores in the current financial year with all expected to be open in time for the key Christmas season.

Year-on-year sales performance at gettingpersonal.co.uk was flat as improvements in average spend was offset by lower visitor numbers. Card Factory is aiming for like-for-like sales growth of at least 10% for the website and is currently investing in a number of business improvement initiatives for the site.

Karen Hubbard, Card Factory's chief executive, said: “As highlighted in our Q1 announcement, the retail environment in the first half has been challenging and, as widely reported, footfall patterns in the first half have generally been soft. Card Factory is not immune to these wider factors and our sales growth over the period was lower than our normal levels as a result.

"It is too early to assess the precise impact on overall consumer sentiment and retail footfall from the result of the EU referendum. However, we enter the second half with confidence in the quality and value of our offer, including our new Christmas range, and we will target improved sales growth in the second half.”

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