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(Reuters) – Greeting and gift card retailer Card Factory reported a slight drop in like-for-like store sales on Friday in the five weeks after stores reopened in the UK, compared to the same period in 2019.

Non-essential retailers across the UK have been battered by repeated COVID-19 restrictions which only began to ease in April.

The company said initial sales after UK stores reopened were better compared to earlier reopens after the first two lockdowns in 2020.

Card Factory, which has more than 1,000 stores in the UK and Ireland, also said online sales have fallen but are still exceeding pre-pandemic levels.

The retailer said it had secured increased bank facilities of 225 million pounds ($ 319.32 million), on top of the original 200 million pounds it is replacing, which it says will enable its strategy to growth in the coming months. This will include capitalizing on the trend for more customers to access its online channels over the past year.

Regarding post-foreclosure trends, the company said customers shop less often in stores, but always buy more.

($ 1 = 0.7046 pounds)

(Reporting by Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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