Card Factory reports further revenue and profit growth in the six months to the end of July.
Revenues rose by 4.8% to £169.2m (H1 FY16: £161.4m) with Card Factory like-for-like sales up 0.2% (H1 FY16: +2.8%).
On an underlying basis the group reports:
- EBITDA growth of 5.1% to £34.2m (H1 FY16: £32.5m)
- Operating profit growth of 4.1% to £29.0m (H1 FY16: £27.8m)
- Profit before tax growth of 7.3% to £27.6m (H1 FY16: £25.7m)
- Basic EPS increased by 7.1% to 6.45 pence (H1 FY16: 6.02 pence)
- Leverage of 1.26 times underlying EBITDA for the 12 months ended 31 July 2016
Reported profit before tax growth was 12.5% to £27.0m (H1 FY16: £24.0m) and the interim dividend is up by 12.0% to 2.8 pence per share (FY16: 2.5 pence).
There is also a special dividend of 15 pence per share (FY16: 15 pence), a return of £51.1m to shareholders
Chief executive Karen Hubbard said: "We have delivered a solid set of interim results with further growth in both revenue and profit, albeit with softer footfall resulting in slightly lower than normal sales growth from our stores.
"We remain highly cash generative and are pleased to be announcing another special dividend of 15 pence per share. Together with the interim dividend, this means we will have returned over £160m to shareholders since IPO just over two years ago.
"We remain the clear leaders in our market, with a strong value proposition, a unique vertically integrated operating model, significant scale advantages, and industry-leading 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.
"Trading in recent weeks has been similar to the trends seen in the first half, with encouraging continued growth in average spend. We approach the important final quarter with confidence in the quality and value of our offer, including our new Christmas ranges, and remain confident of delivering full year underlying profit before tax within the range of expectations.
"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."