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Clintons to consider restructuring Birthdays chain

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Troubled card & gift retailer Clintons may start restructuring its chain of Birthday stores if it can not find a buyer for the division, according to a report from The Independent.

Clintons has hired restructuring specialists Ernst & Young to search for someone to takeover the 141-store discount chain but with few expressing an interest in acquiring Birthdays it may instead be forced to try and turn the struggling business around itself.

Clintons hoped to offload Birthdays to help fund its turnaround plans, which it intends to detail in full next month, however The Independent claims that few if any third parties are interested in the chain which made a loss of £8.6 million last year.

Overall group sales at Clintons saw a slight improvement over the Christmas period, with like-for-like trading up 0.4 per cent year-on-year in the five weeks to January 1st 2012.

Last year the company reported a £10.7 million loss which has led CEO Darcy Willson-Rymer to look at all aspects of its business model to try and cut costs, boost trading and decrease its debts.

Willson-Rymer joined Clintons in October last year having previously held the position of Managing Director for UK & Ireland at cafe chain Starbucks.

It is expected that the sale of parts of its operations and a significant restructuring of it business model will be the conclusion of its strategic review, which is ongoing, but so far the retailer has been unwilling to comment on its plans.

Amid rumours of a possible sale of Birthdays last month, a spokeperson from Clintons commented: “When Darcy Willson-Rymer joined Clintons in October he began a strategic review of the business that is on track for being concluded in late April.

“This is critical for the successful turnaround of the business and by necessity looks at every part of the Group, including both Clintons and Birthdays.

“At this time, we are reviewing all options for all parts of the business and do not foresee announcing any decisions before the results of the strategic review.”

Published on Monday 19 March by Editorial Assistant

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