Card Factory's revenues rose by 6.7% in the nine months to the end of October as the strong first half sales performance continued in the third quarter, driven principally by growth in lower margin non-card categories.
Eight net new UK stores were opened in the third quarter, bringing a total of 38 net new UK store openings in the year to date.
The group said this brought the total number of UK stores to 903 atthe end of October (31 Oct 2016: 860).
A trading update said: 'We remain on track to deliver approximately 50 net new UK stores in the current financial year and, in line with previous years, have started to build a solid pipeline of new store opportunities for the next financial year.
'We remain confident of continuing our historical opening rate of approximately 50 net new stores per annum.'
It said Gettingpersonal.co.uk and cardfactory.co.uk continue to grow and attract increased visitor numbers, with the new management teams performing well.
Chief executive Karen Hubbard said: 'We have had good third quarter sales, continuing the momentum seen over the first half of the year, with strong growth in revenue from lower margin non-card categories, such as gifts and dressings.
'As previously stated, the business faces ongoing external pressures such as foreign exchange and national living wage, which will continue to impact our margin for the remainder of the year and into FY19, despite the mitigation initiatives we have put in place.
'Nevertheless, we go into the important final quarter with an exciting and extended Christmas offer and remain confident that our quality and value credentials will continue to resonate well with our customers, with the added benefit of EPOS and contactless in every store.'
At 8:18am: (LON:CARD) Card Factory Plc share price was +2p at 280.6p