Queen's Christmas cracker supplier welcomes jump in profit

CrackersThe official supplier of Christmas crackers to the Queen has reported a jump in annual profits driven by a surge in greeting cards sales in the UK.

International Greetings, which sells Christmas crackers, cards and stationery, saw underlying pre-tax profits increase 37% to £7.1 million in the year to March 31.

The Hatfield-based company, which was formed in 1979 and now sells in 20 countries, said it benefited from a 70% surge in single greeting cards sales in the UK.

The UK division, combined with its Asian markets, make up 53% of group revenue, which increased 2% to £220.8 million in the period.

The strong results come after the demise of Clinton Cards, which recently fell into administration, leading to the closure of about half of its stores.

Shares in International Greetings, which supplies Card Factory and the supermarkets, were ahead by nearly 2% after the results were published.

The company said sales in Asia and UK were driven by an increase in low-cost or "entry level" products which helped boost volumes.

It added that it had sold more than 2 billion linear feet of gift wrap.

The company's Tom Smith brand, which was acquired 10 years ago, was granted a Royal warrant in 1906, making International Greetings the official maker of crackers each year for the Royal Household.

International Greetings also owns licences to make products branded with Simpsons, Peppa Pig and Disney's Toy Story designs and accounts for some 50% of gift wrap sold in the UK.
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