Greetings card retailer Celebrations Group is set to roll out an aggressive expansion programme for its Card Warehouse brand, with 40 openings planned over the next 12 months.

Celebrations Group, which owns Card Warehouse and Cardfair, has enlisted agency King Sturge to find locations around the country suitable for store openings.

It will continue to expand the Card Warehouse brand at a similar rate in the following years, but did not comment on a final target for the portfolio. It has about 280 stores across both retail brands at present.

The group has appointed King Sturge to look for units of about 1,200 sq ft (110 sq m) and wants to open in a mixture of high street, shopping centre and retail park locations.

As well as ramping up its store portfolio, Celebrations Group has also unveiled a new look for its Card Warehouse stores.

The expansion programme follows Celebrations Group’s acquisition of both retail brands from administrator PricewaterhouseCooper last year.

Greeting Card Group, which previously owned both brands, went into administration in January last year after it revealed that more than a third of its stores were making a loss and it had debts of£30 million.

In the year ending June 2006, Greeting Card Group had a turnover of£70 million across the 470 stores it owned, between Card Warehouse and Cardfair.

Greeting Card Group acquired Card Warehouse in May 2003, taking the combined turnover of the group to more than£60 million.

Celebrations Group closed 180 Card Warehouse stores after completing the acquisition of the brands.