Lockdowns take their toll on Card Factory

Card Factory, the budget greetings card retailer, has announced an annual loss of £16m after the firm was forced to shut its doors for five months, which had a significant impact on profits.

Card Factory said it has successfully reopened its entire store estate

The Wakefield-based firm said it had seen better than expected reopening performances after the first and second lockdowns.

It also reported a successful reopening on April 12 following the third lockdown and initial store sales exceeded previous reopening performances, although activity levels settled after the initial pent up demand was satisfied.

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It added that everyday card and party ranges performed strongly.

Card Factory s new chief executive, Darcy Willson-Rymer, said: "Since joining Card Factory in March 2021, I've been immensely encouraged by what I have seen and heard.

"We have successfully reopened our entire store estate following the third lockdown and delivered a reassuring performance in stores, whilst maintaining online momentum.

"Our powerful brand and unique business model means we are well placed to respond positively to the changing retail environment and to unlock the inherent potential in this business.

"The recent refinancing provides sufficient resources for us to do that by building on our excellent platform to drive future growth. I am excited about the opportunities ahead."

New £225m debt facilities were agreed last month.

Card Factory's chairman, Paul Moody, added: "2020 was an unprecedented year for all businesses. For Card Factory in particular, key trading periods were significantly disrupted and a loss of over a third of the year's revenue inevitably had a very material impact on our financial performance.

"There were some challenging times for all, but I'm delighted at how the business and our colleagues navigated the consequences of the pandemic, which reflects on the robustness of the business.

"Our colleagues responded with great resilience ensuring our customers still received great service. We worked closely with our many stakeholders - suppliers, landlords, banking partners and the Government - to ensure that Card Factory can now confidently start to look forward to the future.

"I am certain that under Darcy's leadership we will take Card Factory forward, building on the strong platform that is already in place and deliver for all our stakeholders."