Clinton Cards and Birthdays Stores Face Closure
May 14, 2012 by J Wade
On Wednesday last week Clinton Cards were forced into administration. The future for the businesses and their staff is currently uncertain. Clinton Cards have stores all across Hampshire, along with Birthdays, its party stores.
It was American Greetings, Clinton Cards' main supplier, who took action to place them into administration. Clinton Cards is American Greetings' largest distributor in the UK and have invested heavily in the business.
Clinton Cards was founded in 1968 by Don Lewin and is not listed on the London Stock Exchange, trading in the FTSE Fledgling Index. It is the UK's largest specialist card retailer and they have a presence on many high streets across the UK with 628 Clinton Cards stores and 139 Birthdays stores. Over 8000 people are employed by Clinton Cards nationwide.
In Hampshire there are stores in Fareham, Havant, Petersfield and Portsmouth.
Clinton Cards have made heavy losses over the last 8 years. Zolfo Cooper, the administrators in charge, have said that Clinton Cards have accumulated a loss of £130 million since 2004. In recent years Clinton Cards has faced an increase in competition from independent Internet retailers who can price their stock more competitively.
In an attempt to keep the business afloat Clinton Cards sold £35 million of its debt to American Greetings. This was a debt that Clinton Cards owed to Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland. For American Greetings this was a major investment as it ensured that their main UK distributor stayed in business.
However, American Greetings has now decided that Clinton Cards cannot be saved and for it to have any chance of recovering its loan the business needs to enter administration.
American Greetings are in a position to save Clinton Cards if they can agree a deal to buy the chain. However, even if Clinton Cards is saved there could still be job losses due to a business restructure.
It is unlikely that there will be any immediate closures. Clinton Cards will attempt to sell as much of its stock as possible, we should expect sales to be announced soon.
Staff are certainly worried about their jobs in the future. It seems very likely that this news will result in more empty shops in high streets all