Popular UK card retailer, the Card Factory has announced plans to open 50 new stores in Ireland. The planned stores will be opened over the next three years nationwide.

The Card Factory currently operates more than 800 stores in Britain and has now begun its expansion into the Irish market. The company first mentioned plans for Irish operations three years ago, proposing 100 new stores.

CEO of the company, Karen Hubbard, who is relatively new to the role, becoming CEO a year ago, has told investors that the company plans to expand into Ireland due to the “clear opportunity” to build a strong presence here. The retailer has just established a company in Ireland to spearhead the expansion. Over the next three years, Card Factory plans to open a total of about 50 stores a year.

The company has expanded at a rapid pace in the UK and plans to replicate that growth in Ireland. At the start of February 2016, the Card Factory had 814 outlets across the UK, including a handful in the North. This figure had risen to 865 stores in the UK by the end of January 2017.

The company posted revenue of £398.2m (€473.2m) in its last financial year, with like-for-like increases of under 1%.Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) was £98.5m (€117m), which was 3.8% higher on the previous financial year.

The Card Factory was founded by Dean Hoyle and his wife Janet and the first store opened in 1997.