Administrators for the beleaguered high street greeting cards specialist Clinton Cards have announced that nearly half of the retailer’s stores are to be closed to help pay off its debts.
Corporate Advisory & Restructuring firm Zolfo Cooper said in a statement last night that since being appointed as administrator for the failed company it has become clear that its store portfolio of 784 shops is now untenable and must be reduced.
All of the group’s 150 Birthdays-branded stores will shut down along with 200 of its Clinton Cards stores, potentially costing all of the 2,800 jobs currently supported by these shops.
The store closure programme is set to begin during the week commencing May 21st 2012, however exact locations, timings and employee numbers effected has yet to be announced.
Peter Saville, Joint Administrator and Partner at Zolfo Cooper, said: “Given the sheer size of the Clinton Cards retail estate and the overall performance, we were left with no alternative to today’s difficult decision.
“I am hopeful that the action we have taken will allow us to preserve value in the core underlying business, thereby allowing us and potential buyers to focus on a profitable and viable retail estate going forward.”
Clintons was plunged into administration last week after its management lost the support of one of its major suppliers American Greetings.
Since 2004, the retailer, which currently employs as many as 8,000 people in the UK, has made accumulated losses of more than £130 million, with losses totalling £3.7 million for the first half of this financial year.
With trading levels continuing to decline into the second half period the group’s CEO Darcy Wilson-Rymer could not complete his strategic review which was being undertaken to try and turn the business around.
Zolfo Cooper is preparing Clintons for a possible takeover and rumoured interested parties in an acquisition include high street rivals WHSmith and Card Factory, along with private equity firm OpCapita which recently acquired struggling retailers Game Group and Comet.