• Fourth-quarter like-for-likes up between 1% to 3% 
  • Full-year profits to be ahead of expectations
  • Chief financial officer Darren Bryant to step down after eight years
  • Plans to open around 50 new stores this year

Card Factory has reported a rise in Christmas sales and said its full-year profits will be “slightly” ahead of analyst expectations.

The Yorkshire-headquartered card and gift specialist also revealed today that finance boss Darren Bryant will step down after eight years with the business.

The retailer, which has 865 stores, said like-for-like growth in the three months to December 31 had returned to the “historic range of 1% to 3%”.

In the 11 months to December 31, Card Factory said like-for-likes rose 0.4%. Total sales in the year-to-date climbed 4.3%.

Boss Karen Hubbard said: “As I approach my first anniversary with the business, it is pleasing to report that Card Factory has traded well through the competitive Christmas trading period with customers once again responding well to our card and non-card ranges.” 

The retailer, which floated in 2014, said it is “confident” of posting full-year profits ahead of expectations, which currently range from £80.9m to £83m.

In its half-year, underlying pre-tax profits rose 7.3% to £27.6m.

This year the retailer plans to open around 50 news stores.

Meanwhile, chief financial officer Bryant said he will stay with the business until a replacement is found.

“Having started my professional career some 25 years ago, I feel that the time is right to take a break,” said Bryant.