Lockdown hits profits at listed greeting cards and gifts retailer

Wakefield-headquartered retailer Card Factory has reported a pre-tax loss of £22.2m in its newly released interim results for the six months ended 31 July 2020.

This compares with pre-tax profits of £24.3m for the previous equivalent period.

The company’s latest revenues were £100.5m, down from £195.6m, with stores (UK & Ireland) like-for-like revenue down 4.4%, compared to a £1.2% rise in HY20.

But online and multichannel like-for-like revenue was up 64.4% (HY20: 2% decline).

Card Factory said these results are in line with its expectations, and reflect the impact of lockdown related store closures across the UK and Ireland from 23 March 2020, until the completion of its phased reopening on 24 July 2020.

The firm says it was able to successfully manage costs and working capital commitments, as well as cut capital investment to £3.5m (HY20: £9.8m), to conserve cash during the period.

As a result its net debt (excluding lease liabilities) was broadly unchanged over the period and £26.4m lower than HY20.

Card Factory notes it has also established funding headroom through access to the Government’s Covid Corporate Finance Fund and renegotiated banking covenants.

Paul Moody, executive chairman, said: I am extremely proud of all colleagues working across every part of our business for the significant contribution they have made throughout this period of unprecedented disruption.

“In particular, for their unrelenting focus in driving the very successful phased store-reopening programme.

We are pleased with both the trading performance as our stores have reopened and the positive feedback from customers who are visiting less frequently, but spending more.

“Recognising the uncertainty of the impact of further Covid-19 measures and changes in consumer behaviour in the short term, we are focused on a flawless execution of Christmas and the implementation of our refreshed strategy.”