Signed sealed and delivered sales back to pre-pandemic levels at cards and gifts retailer

Darcy Willson-Rymer

Wakefield-headquartered Card Factory says its sales performance has continued to recover since it delivered its last trading update in September.

The business says its two-year like-for-like sales (LFL), compared to the equivalent quarter to 31 October 2019, pre-Covid, show gradual improvement.

Two-year store LFL was -3% for the quarter to 31 October 2021.  Average basket value over this quarter continued to exceed pre-pandemic levels (+22.5% on a two-year LFL basis), offsetting the lower transaction numbers (-20.9% on a two-year LFL basis).

Card Factory says online is trading in line with expectations, adding that its Christmas ranges are selling well at this early stage of the season.

A relatively small proportion of the company’s products sourced from the Far East are subject to supply chain delays, but Card Factory says its contingency planning should ensure any delays to store deliveries are “minimised and short lived.”

The firm notes recruitment of seasonal store staff has started strongly.

Net debt, which is typically at its annual high due to stock purchase in advance of the Christmas season, as at 31 October 2021 was £108.4m (excluding £20.8m of deferred rents and VAT), compared to net debt of £142.5m (excluding £13.2m of deferred rents and VAT) on 31 October 2020.

Darcy Willson-Rymer, CEO, said: “We continue to see improved performance of the business as customers steadily return to shopping in stores. This gives us confidence as we engage to realise the refreshed strategy and build our omnichannel offering.

“We look forward to the future and the continued implementation of our strategy. We are confident the Group is well placed to take advantage of the growth opportunities available to it.”