CARD Factory is to open another 50 stores this year as demand increases for its budget greetings cards.
The Wakefield-based retailer, which floated in May valued at £766m, said like-for-like sales rose 2.6 per cent in the six months to July 31.
The group opened 36 stores over the half year, bringing the total number to 749. The expansion helped total sales rise 8.9 per cent.
Chief executive Richard Hayes said the chain has a strong pipeline of opportunities for new stores.
The group has seen strong demand for its cards, most of which sell for under £1 with some priced at less than 50p.
It benefits from in-house design, printing and warehousing, which significantly reduces external costs and keeps the price down. It designs and manufactures cards in Yorkshire and also uses third party providers.
“The group continued to trade well in the first half of the current financial year with good growth coming from the existing store estate and new store roll-out programme, as well as from our smaller but developing online proposition,” said Mr Hayes.
Analyst Kate Calvert, at Investec, said: “Card Factory reported a good first half sales performance, in line with the board’s expectations. Net debt is expected to be £10m lower than estimated at IPO. The probability of a capital return in the medium term improves.
“We view Card Factory as a proven brand-driven eight to ten year roll-out story with a highly attractive, vertically integrated model.”
The group’s interim results are due to be published on September 18.