Thursday 14 January 2021 9:06 am

Card Factory suffers loss as closures rip through festive sales

Closed stores over the Christmas period meant Card Factory suffered significant losses, sending its shares down 4.1 per cent this morning.

Card Factory experienced a year-on-year decline of over 38 per cent, where forced store closures prohibited openings for 37 per cent of available trading days.

Sales over the eleven-month period fell from almost £425m in 2019 to £281m in 2020.

The greeting card retailer said it expected to report a loss before tax of around £10m for the year, compared with a pre-tax profit of over £65m a year earlier.

Read more: How retail can survive in a post-Covid world

Executive chairman, Paul Moody, remains convinced that Card Factory resonates strongly with its customers and will bounce back from a tough year.

He said: “Despite the obvious uncertainties in the first half of 2021, I am confident that we have the opportunity to return the business to sustainable profitable growth and will do all that is necessary in the near term to ensure that we can maximise that opportunity.”

Card Factory’s online services performed very strongly, achieving like-for-like sales growth of 137 per cent during the same period.

The retailer announced that its recovery following the first national lockdown exceeded expectations.

Existing bank facilities of £200m would be enough to meet the current requirements, it said, so long as the lockdown of non-essential retail didn’t go on after 30 April.

Read more: Retail sales suffer worst year on record as lockdowns bite

Moody added: “In a year, the like of which none of us have ever experienced before, I am hugely proud of the way in which the Card Factory family has risen to the many challenges faced and want to thank every colleague for their huge commitment.

“Throughout 2020 we unwaveringly did all that was necessary to protect our colleagues and customers, making our stores one of the most Covid-secure shopping experiences available. 

“The financial investment has been significant, but critical to enabling us to meet our social responsibility.”