Card Factory applies for Bank of England funding

Card Factory is creating the world's biggest thank you card for the NHSCard Factory is creating the world's biggest thank you card for the NHS
Card Factory is creating the world's biggest thank you card for the NHS
Greetings card retailer Card Factory has furloughed over 90 per cent of its staff and has successfully applied for additional funding under the Bank of England's Covid Corporate Financing Facility.

​The Wakefield-based firm said cash management is a key area of focus during these uncertain times, whilst it protects the longer-term prospects of the business.

The firm has in place an existing £200m Revolving Credit Facility, maturing in October 2023, with its commercial banks. The firm said its banks have remained supportive.

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The group reported a significant reduction in non-essential capex, including deferral of replacement equipment at its manufacturing plant, with investment in a small number of key projects that support the group's long term strategic objectives​.​

New store openings have been reduced to seven in the current financial year, which it is legally committed to opening.

It has renegotiated rental payments and is having ongoing discussions with landlords to reduce net cash outflow.

The board has decided not to pay a final dividend in order to protect the business and its balance sheet at this uncertain time.

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Following all the actions taken, the board said it is confident the group has access to sufficient liquidity, even in the event of a prolonged store closure period.

With appropriate safety measures and controls in place, it has continued to trade both of its online businesses. While online is a small part of the group, the firm reported significant growth in visitors, conversion and sales.

The web site has delivered sales growth of 268 per cent since the lock-down with at 58 per cent. In response to this increased demand, and to support social distancing, the firm has established a second fulfilment unit in Wakefield.

As all of its stores are closed, as per ​G​overnment guidance, all store colleagues have been furloughed under the Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Where required, Support Centre colleagues are working from home.

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In preparation for re-opening, it is currently working on changes to store operations that will help ensure colleague and customer safety. It expects to be able to facilitate appropriate social distancing in the majority of its stores.