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Card Factory issues special dividend with Christmas in sight

The group upped its interim dividend 12% to 2.8p per share, with a special dividend of 15p per share.

Woman reading a Christmas card
The group said it enters the Christmas season with confidence.

Card Factory PLC (LON:CARD) secured its place as greetings card king of the high street as it reported a rise in revenue and profit, announcing a special dividend.  

In the first six months ended July, pre-tax profit rose 7.3% compared to last year at £27.6mln, on revenues of £169.2mln, up nearly 5%.

The group upped its interim dividend 12% to 2.8p per share, with a special dividend of 15p per share. Shareholders saw a total return of £51.1mln.

Since its IPO a little more than two years ago, Card Factory has returned around £163.8mln to shareholders.

With a chain of over 850 UK stores, Card Factory retains the largest share of the specialist greetings cards and gifts market, focused on the value and mid-range segments of the UK high street.

But the group said it has not been immune to the tribulations of other high street stores, and had noticed a material slowdown in the first half due to decreased footfall. However the group said it had seen encouraging continued growth in average spend.

“Card Factory is the clear leader in its market, with a strong value proposition, a unique vertically integrated operating model, significant scale advantages, and superior margins.  The potential for further growth, through like-for-like sales growth, further store roll-out and the full exploitation of our online channels, is exciting,” said chief executive Karen Hubbard.

With the Christmas season in sight, the group said it enters the next quarter with confidence.

The group said it expects to deliver full year underlying pre-tax profits within the range of analysts' current expectations of £80.9mln to £83.0mln.

“We remain as convinced as ever of the strong growth prospects for the business, and of our ability to deliver further returns of surplus cash to shareholders over the medium term,” added Hubbard.

Shares rose 2% to 308p.

Quick facts: Card Factory

Price: 169.4 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £579.61 m

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