UPDATE 1-Card Factory sees lower core profit as election dampens Christmas cheer

(Adds CEO comment, LFL sales, outlook, background)

Jan 9 (Reuters) - British greeting card retailer Card Factory Plc said it expected lower annual earnings as last month’s general election and weak consumer confidence hurt performance in the key Christmas period, sending its shares down 17%.

Retailers on the High Street have been hit by lower footfall, online competition and higher costs of maintaining brick-and-mortar stores.

This was likely to have an impact of between 5 million pounds and 10 million pounds on adjusted core earnings for 2021, Card Factory said.

Meanwhile, Britons are also cutting back on spending as the country’s impending exit from the European Union weighs on sentiment and the economy.

The company expects annual adjusted underlying core earnings to be between 81 million pounds and 83 million pounds, lower than 89.4 million pounds ($117.19 million) it reported last year.

“The Christmas trading period continued to be challenging given the general election and weak consumer confidence, the impact of which can be seen in the footfall decline experienced in the period,” Chief Executive Officer Karen Hubbard said.

The company, which has more than 1,000 stores within the UK and Ireland, said it will review the level of ordinary dividend in 2021 and does not expect a special dividend will be paid for that year.

Like-for-like sales for the 11 months to December declined by 0.6% year on year. ($1 = 0.7628 pounds)

Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Arun Koyyur