Card Factory's store sales exceed expectations as lockdown is eased

THE Card Factory said its store sales have exceeded expectations as the lockdown is eased.

The Card Factory has published a trading update.

Card Factory has updated the market on its trading performance and financial position.

In a statement, it said: "The company undertook a phased approach to reopening stores, prioritising protection of colleagues and customers and taking account of local restrictions.

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"An initial small phase was opened in a range of location types to test and adapt operations to Covid-secure social distancing and hygiene measures."

The company has 1,015 of its 1,018 stores operating in accordance with Covid secure guidelines.

The statement added: "In line with our continuous review of our stores estate, since the start of the financial year, seven new stores have opened, two have relocated and 11 stores have closed.

"A further four stores are to be opened (where leases were entered into prior to the Covid-19 closures) and we anticipate c. 9 store closures, resulting in c. 1,013 stores by the end of the current financial year."

The statement added: "Sales realised from our stores have exceeded our initial expectations, with like-for-like sales since reopening down 21.6% (compared to an anticipated 50% reduction in the first month of reopening). Although the number of in-store transactions has fallen, reflecting footfall levels, the average spend has increased by 24.9%.

"Online sales from both cardfactory.co.uk and gettingpersonal.co.uk continue to exceed previous year's sales, realising like-for-like sales up 68.9% for the current financial year to 19 July 2020. Online like-for-like sales were up 120.7% during the period of store closures, from 23 March to 14 June 2020. Since stores started to reopen, to 19 July, online like-for-like sales were up 60.5%."

"We successfully launched the new cardfactory.co.uk website on 2 July 2020."

The company said it has continued to manage costs, cash and creditors carefully and expects to remain within its revised banking covenants.

The statement added: "The board is pleased with the trading performance since stores have reopened; however, it is far too soon to determine whether initial trading reflects the release of pent-up demand following lockdown or the point at which consumer footfall and sales (both transactions and average spend) will settle to a sustainable level. "

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