Cards giant Clinton Cards goes into administration sparking fears for more than 8,000 staff
By Trucks79 | Wednesday, May 09, 2012, 19:53
Clinton Cards is the country's largest card retailer, and has a number of stores across the south west including one in Thornbury and Yate.
Restructuring specialists Zolfo Cooper have now been appointed administrators to the group and its subsidiaries including Birthdays after American Greeting, the US card retailer, bought Clinton Cards' debt from its banks and called in the loan.
Clinton Cards, which operates more than 620 Clinton Card stores and just under 140 Birthdays stores, was unable to repay the £35m loan and said it had "no option but to concur with American Greetings' proposal to place the company and its subsidiaries into administration".
On Wednesday, it said like-for-like sales, which strip out the impact of sales from shops opened or closed in the past year, fell 3.5% in the past 14 weeks compared with a year earlier.
Clintons dates back to 1968 and has a significant high street presence, Peter Saville, Joint Administrator and Partner at Zolfo Cooper said "Recently, Clintons has been faced with extremely challenging trading conditions, particularly in its Birthdays subsidiary, where the combined cost to the Group in terms of acquisition cost and accumulated losses is estimated to have been in excess of £130 million since 2004. Despite evaluating ways to restructure its business, Clintons was unfortunately unable to secure adequate support or funding for its restructuring plans. The challenging business environment, and in particular the increased competition for greetings cards and related products, meant that the Group required radical restructuring and administration was the last remaining option available."
"Our first priority is to stabilise the business and assess its financial position. We will continue to trade the business whilst we undertake a full marketing exercise to find buyers for all or parts of the Group so that the best possible outcome can be achieved for stakeholders."
"It is likely that a number of stores will need to be closed in order to make the business financially viable. However, Clinton Cards and Birthdays are very well-known brands on the high street and we believe that there is a strong underlying core business. We are therefore confident that it is an attractive proposition for a range of potential buyers and welcome expressions of interest from third parties."
No details have yet been announced as to which stores if any will close as a result of the appointment but locals in and around Thornbury will be hoping that their market town will not lose yet another popular retail store.
Local shopper Dean Hooper said "I can't remember the last time I went into Clintons, with so many online sites offering a more personal service along with free express delivery it really is no wonder that these types of companies are failing."