• Underlying pre-tax profit up 25% to £82m
  • Sales increase 8% to £381.6m.
  • Like-for-likes in stores up 2.8%

Card Factory has delivered both a profits and sales increase in its full year as its boss prepares to stand down.

Card Factory attributed the sales growth to product improvements and said it gained share as it opened more shops, driving an 8% rise in turnover.

Underlying pre-tax profit was up 25% to £82m, while sales reached £381.6m. Like-for-likes rose 2.8%.

The retailer opened 50 stores in the year, bringing its total estate to 814. Card Factory has identified a “strong” pipeline of further new store openings in the current financial year.

Card Factory said its “industry-leading” underlying EBITDA margins were maintained at 24.9% despite the mixed effect from growth in non-card lines and also costs associated with the IPO.

It said “business efficiency initiatives” were under way to provide “partial mitigation of margin headwinds” such as foreign exchange and the new National Living Wage. It estimates that the implementation of NLW will increase store wages, based on the current store estate, by approximately £2.5m per year.

Card Factory’s online sales jumped 22.8% after its ecommerce business, Getting Personal, enjoyed “strong” growth, while its relaunched Card Factory website “progressed well”, posting a fivefold sales increase year on year.

Former B&M and Asda executive Karen Hubbard is to replace Richard Hayes as chief executive later this month, as first reported in January.

Hayes said: “This has been another excellent year for Card Factory. We have continued to expand our store portfolio and grow our market share, and our complementary online sales channels are progressing very well.

“We are better placed than most to manage the increased cost pressures that our sector is facing.

“I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to lead Card Factory through an exciting period of growth and change. It is a very strong business with a great team of people who have all contributed to growing the business from a small chain of discount stores to a vertically integrated, high-margin value retailer with more than 800 stores nationwide and two transactional websites.

”I would like, again, to welcome my successor Karen Hubbard, and to wish her and the team every success for the future.”