Record as Card Factory has ‘Personal’ touch

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​​Card Factory, the budget greetings card retailer which floated last May, reported record maiden annual results following strong growth in online sales.

The Wakefield-based firm said that although it is a relatively new entrant to the personalised online card and gifts market, its Getting Personal operation made “excellent progress” with revenue up by over 23 per cent to £15.5m.

The FTSE 250 firm said group revenue rose eight per cent to £353m and pre-tax profits jumped 42 per cent to £42.7m despite the cost of flotation. Underlying earnings rose 10 per cent to £88.2m and like-for-like sales rose 1.8 per cent.

​Chief executive Richard Hayes said: “This is our first set of results as a quoted company. It’s always pleasing to report that we’ve done exactly what we set out to do at flotation.”

The group said it is on track to add 50 new stores this year and the plan is to have a chain of 1,200 stores.

The group’s shares, ​which have risen 50 per cent since flotation, fell 4.7 per cent to 284p.

Analysts attributed the fall to the lack of new information about the return of surplus capital to shareholders.

​​Earlier this month​ Investec analysts said the group could return between £29m and £76m in 2016.

Analyst Kate Calvert, at Investec, said: “The shares had risen ahead of the update and, given the lack of capital return, may trade off today, but we continue to view Card as an attractive brand-led eight to 10 year roll-out story.”

​The company is seeing strong sales of new non-card ranges, such as candles, cushions, picture frames and ornaments.