- Retailer Card Factory maintained its guidance for full-year earnings though warned that it was set for another difficult year as like-for-like sales declined following a lower high-street footfall over Christmas.

Expectations for underlying earnings (EBITDA) for the full year remained in the range of £89m to £91m, unchanged from the previous guidance given in November, but EBITDA was expected to be broadly flat for the new fiscal year amid limited sales growth.

For the eleven months ended 31 December, like-for-like sales declined 0.1% from a rise of 3% a year earlier and total revenue was also off the pace rising just 3.4% compared with a 5.9% rise a year earlier.

The company's Getting Personal division also weighed down performance as it slashed prices in a bid to attract sales and grappled with increasing cost of customer acquisition.

'The Christmas trading period was challenging due to lower high street footfall. However, Card Factory performed robustly in this competitive trading period. As a result, like-for-like store sales have remained consistent and in line with our quarter three update in November,' said Karen Hubbard, Card Factory's Chief Executive Officer.

'Although the Group has faced significant cost pressures in the year, these have reduced and we have been able to take mitigating action to maintain robust gross margins.'

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