Case Studies

Case Study: Card Factory

The Company:

Card Factory is the UK’s leading manufacturer and retailer of greetings cards.

It was founded in 1997 by husband and wife Dean and Janet Hoyle, with a single shop in Wakefield, Yorkshire. Today, it operates around 600 stores throughout the UK, focusing on value for money cards and gifts.

Added Value:

  • After successfully expanding its retail portfolio in its first 10 years of trading, Card Factory’s management team was ready to accelerate its store rollout programme to take advantage of its unique proposition as a value-led specialist retailer
  • LDC made a significant growth capital investment in Card Factory in 2006, which gave the team the necessary firepower to scale the business and fulfil its potential
  • Within the investment period Card Factory opened 160 stores and increased its employees by several hundred. This programme included the acquisition of 80 stores from failed greetings card company Celebrations Group, enabling it to swiftly penetrate new locations

Outcomes:

  • During LDC’s four year partnership with Card Factory, the business’ rollout strategy helped it achieve a market-leading position as the UK’s largest greeting cards retailer, increasing sales to £216m and profits (EBITDA) to £50m in 2010
  • LDC exited Card Factory in 2010 through a £350m sale to another institutional funder
“LDC helped Card Factory take advantage of its innovative business model, successfully implementing a store roll-out programme and expanding its national footprint to become the number one card retailer, delivering impressive sales and profits. Card Factory is a great example of how private equity can unlock a business’ potential to enhance performance, create value for shareholders and deliver social benefit through employment creation.”
Senior Director, LDC

Highlights:

  • Opened 160 new stores
  • Acquired 80 new stores
  • Sales increased to £216m
  • Profits increased to £50m