Card Factory has reported a reduced first-half loss and said a transformation to an omnichannel model is under way.

Card Factory Exeter

The retailer reported a pre-tax loss of £6.5m in the period – an improvement from £22m sustained in the comparable period last year. Sales rose 16% to £117m in the six months to July 31.

Card Factory said the results were in line with its expectations and reflected the impact of store closures during lockdowns as the Covid pandemic hit. 

The retailer reported that store footfall levels were still below pre-pandemic levels but “outperforming high street averages, demonstrating strength of brand and customer proposition”.

An increase in average basket value across “multiple categories” offset a fall in transaction volumes.

The retailer revised financial targets issued last year because subsequent lockdowns had not been envisaged at that time. Card Factory is now targeting revenues in excess of £600m in 2026, of which approximately 20% will come from online and multichannel and retail partnerships.

Chief executive Darcy Willson-Rymer said: “The delivery of the growth strategy set out in July 2020 – and the broader retail environment itself – has obviously been impacted by Covid-19.

“However, it is clear that the right way forward is to transition Card Factory from being a store-led card retailer into a market-leading, omnichannel retailer of cards and gifts.

“Whilst cards will remain the largest part of our business in terms of total contribution, we will substantially increase our focus on the complementary gifting and party markets, enhancing our customer offer and significantly increasing the size of our addressable market. 

“Although there remains some uncertainty about the speed of the post-pandemic market recovery in the short term, I firmly believe in both the resilience of the card and gifting markets, and the fact that the majority of customer spend will remain in stores for the years to come.”

  • Card Factory’s pureplay rival Moonpig reported ”strong” trading in the year to date. The retailer raised group sales guidance for the year to between £270m and £285m.