Belfast Telegraph

Card Factory sales soar by 9%

By Roger Baird

Card Factory is on track to open 50 new stores in 2014 as the greetings card retailer looks to build on a 9% jump in sales so far this year.

The Wakefield-based firm, which employs 6,500 staff, opened 36 stores in the six months to July 31, taking its estate to 749 outlets.

As well as benefiting from store expansion, the performance of shops open for more than a year showed improvement as like-for-like sales lifted by 2.6%.

Shares in the business rose 2% today although they remain below the 225p offer price when it floated on the London Stock Exchange in May.

Chief executive Richard Hayes said: "We remain confident of the group's ability to continue to grow market share for the foreseeable future."

The May float raised £90m towards paying down debt and its target of an estate of more than 1,200 stores in the UK and Ireland over the next 10 years.

The sale also allowed private equity firm Charterhouse to sell some of the shares it bought in securing a majority stake in the business from founders Dean and Janet Hoyle in 2010.

Card Factory, which began with one store in Wakefield in 1997, said last year the business sold 285 million single cards and boosted underlying earnings 9% to £80.4m.

Belfast Telegraph