Thursday 15 November 2018 3:48 pm

Card Factory posts higher revenues despite ‘challenging’ high street conditions

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Card Factory shares slipped today as high street sales stayed flat year on year for the nine months to October, despite the high street retailer enjoying an online boost.

Group revenue grew by 3.4 per cent year on year for the period, but like-for-like sales stayed flat compared to the first nine months of 2017.

Card Factory's website saw revenue growth of 70.9 per cent, however, higher than 2017's 44 per cent growth, with shares falling slightly by 1.39 per cent.

Net debt rose to £172m from £156m as the gift card firm stocks up ahead of the Christmas shopping period.

Chief executive Karen Hubbard said the sales were strong "despite the continuation of challenging high street trading conditions".

“The business faces reduced, but ongoing, external cost pressures such as national living wage and foreign exchange-related input cost increases; the latter is expected to ease in full year 2020," she added. "We remain focused on mitigating these headwinds with our ongoing programme of business efficiencies.

“Given our new ranges and our seasonal performance to date, we approach our Christmas trading period with confidence. We also remain positive about the growth prospects for the business over the medium term.”

The company continues to expand its portfolio of stores despite tough high street conditions, with 41 new openings over the nine-month period. It now has 963 stores in total, including seven trial stores in the Republic of Ireland.

Card Factory said its expectations for the full year remain unchanged.