Card Factory has posted a jump in like-for-like sales during its first half as the business presses ahead with a drive to broaden its proposition.

In a first half trading update, the greetings card specialist said like-for-likes increased 3.1% in the six months ending July 31.

Store like-for-likes were up 3% as Card Factory’s bricks-and-mortar business continued to perform strongly.

Card Factory opened 30 net new stores during the period, as well as its first store in the Republic of Ireland.

The launch of new locations helped underlying group sales grow 6.7%, while total sales climbed 6.1%.

Card Factory said those figures were also buoyed by an extra trading day in 2017 compared to the prior year.

Its online business, Getting Personal, was also in growth, posting a 5% sales rise compared to a flat first half the prior year.

Card Factory will not disclose a profit figure until its interim results are revealed next month, but said its expectations for 2017/18 were “unchanged.”

The retailer’s chief executive Karen Hubbard said: “It is pleasing to report that the strong sales performance highlighted in our Q1 announcement has continued into the second quarter, delivering a very good first half both in terms of overall and like-for-like store sales.

“Our store expansion programme remains on track and we are pleased with the performance of this year’s openings, including strong sales from the increased proportion of openings in retail parks.”