Card Factory sees massive upswing in profits

Yorkshire greetings card retailer Card Factory is seeing its profits soar while rival chain Clinton Cards experienced a £10.6 million year-end pre-tax loss and reduced revenues.

The latest figures from Wakefield-based Card Factory showed that pre-tax profits in the year to 31 January 2011 rose enormously from £35.6 million to £55.6 million following its sale last year by founder Dean Hoyle to private equity firm Charterhouse in a £350 million deal. Operating profit also climbed by £20 million to £60 million in 2010.

The retailer credits the great results with its continuing policy of expansion through store openings, increasing its shop fronts from 483 to 531 and upping revenue from £209 million to £228 million. The retailer employs 5,700 staff.

Since its year end results Card Factory entered the growing and increasingly lucrative product personalisation market by purchasing, a northern online personalised gift company which brought in sales of £11.5 million in the year to April 2011, an increase of 22 per cent on the year before.

Card Factory was set up by Dean and Janet Hoyle in 1997 and has turned into the dominant multiple greetings card retailer in recent years, consistently overshadowing Clinton Cards and bucking the flat to declining UK market for greetings cards. Card Factory designs, sources and prints its own cards, which enables it to cut out supplier input and make larger margins than other stores while offering consumers considerably cheaper cards.