Clinton Cards Collapses Into Administration
Embattled UK retailer Clinton Cards has gone into administration, putting thousands of jobs at risk.
The group, which is the UK's biggest specialist cards retailer and operates 628Clintons and 139 Birthdays stores, collapsed into administration after failingto find a buyer for all or parts of the business.
Administrators at Zolfo Cooper said the group had made losses of £130m since 2004 and it was "likely that a number of stores would need to be closed to make the business financially viable".
Shares in the company, which employs more than 8,000 staff, were suspended on the London Stock Exchange this morning.
The move came after its banks - Barclays and taxpayer-backed Royal Bank of Scotland - sold the company's £35m of loans to its biggest supplier, American Greetings, which initiated the move into administration.
Clinton's collapse comes as another blow to the UK High Street after recent high-profile casualties, including video games retailer Game Group, fashion chain Peacocks and outdoor specialist Blacks Leisure.
The card retailer has suffered dire trading in recent months as it comes up against stiff competition from supermarkets and online retailers such as Moonpig, which sell personalised cards.
It recorded a pre-tax loss of £3.7m in the 26 weeks to the end of January, compared with a profit of £11.7m in the previous year, and warned that the second half of the year would be below expectations.
Its shares have lost more than 80% of their value since the start of 2010.
Today it revealed more poor trading for the 14 weeks since January 29, with same-store sales down 3.5%.
Retailing analyst Nick Bubb told Sky News that the UK card market was shrinking and Clintons was also losing market share to competitiors.
"They have a lot of very high rent stores so the losses are worsening," he said.
Mr Bubb added: "Suppliers can probably see the writing on the wall, as happened with Game Group."
The Clintons chain was founded in 1968 when Don Lewin opened the first store in Epping in Essex.
It had 77 outlets when it floated on the stock market in 1988.
The number was swelled by numerous acquisitions including Hallmark Cards and the Birthdays Group, which had 170 stores, in 2004.
The latest survey from the British Retail Consortium shows the biggest fall in high street sales for more than a year last month.
what do you think?
Well it was always going to happen. they must have made huge profit on each card compared to how much each card cost to make. i went in one of their shops ONCE. for years i go to the well known discount stores where they are reasonably priced.i get cards for future birthdays christmas etcetra for friends and families in one go for only a tenner or so. in the recession only those with money will buy premium price cards.
I'm not surprised by this. They are really expensive. Not shopped in there for a long time.
I rarely go to Clintons except to buy the cheap and cheerful cards as their prices are horrendous!!! And who can afford to post cards these days anyway?!
horrible shop - farewell card in the post
Quite simply, the public will not pay the prices businesses have to charge to cover their very expensive overheads. Twenty percent VAT does a lot of harm too. If you think Clinton Cards was expensive - they weren't - just wait until you see what happens to the price of cards in supermarkets and other low quality shops when they have the market to themselves. The greetings card industry is in it's dying days and the end has been brought nearer by the complete abolition of control of postage costs by the Royal Mail regulator. This is another major blow to the existence of our high streets and a very major jobs blow.
Clinton Cards ARE very very expensive!!!
too expensive. surprised they lasted as long as they did
For most people, shops are miles away by road. Then from the car park, the card shop is where? To go and buy a birthday or Christmas card is not very easy for a lot of people. Miles and miles and miles by road. You browse total garbage along card shop shelves. Cards which look stupid covered with dogs and cats in sunglasses or chimpanzees. Most of the cards are so disgusting to read, nobody ever buys them. Most of the jokes aren't even funny. Some of them have electronic tunes but are so expensive nobody bothers buying one. People have far better things to use their money on. I don't remember the last time I got to buy anyone a card. I normally say, "I couldn't find a card, they were all stupid". Or, "This is the only card I could find, sorry about that".
I think you just cant be bothered!! There are great cards on sale and always something for everybody.
people cant be bothered sending cards so much these days especially at over inflated prices at these sort of shops like clintons.theres always ecards and people send messages for free on birthdays etc.theres a lot cheaper shops than clintons.these sort of shops have always ripped people off.unless is an essential item like food people just aint spending anymore.some shops expanded to quickly in good times on large debts and suffering for it now.they have lasted longer than i thought they would.never seamed to be any one in when i walked by.wonder what retailer is next to finish?
I'm sure that the huge increase in postage has been the final nail in their coffin!
With shops like the card factory and cheap card shops eg 4 cards for £1 no wonder Clintons have gone down hill. Bet it will be Birthdays next as thats another expensive card shop. People just cant afford cards anymore .
Mandy Moo Hughes
Birthdays is owned by the same people as Clintons, so it's going to.
Same people that owe Birthdays :(
......who wants to go down the town looking for a card.......and then pay loads to post it !! NOT ME !!
Got to agree with you about the quality of goods on offer in many of the big chains.Some of the tattiest is to be found in the likes of Card Factory where at least it costs pennies. But I have to say the public get what they deserve and the terrible standards in many of our shops is generally down to the attitude of the shoppers. Quality comes well below price on the scale of what a shopper wants, so the big chains sell to a price and drop the quality to whatever low level they can get away with. Shops selling good quality for a reasonable price are failing in their hundreds while others selling absolute rubbish for pennies are booming .It is reminiscent of Ratner's jewellers in the 80's. That was a great money maker for Gerald Ratner until the public realised they had been suckered all along.
Quite a few people are taking a perverse pleasure in the demise of Clinton's. Can I point out to you that when any retailer goes out of business, basically, there is a major loss of revenue to local and central government and an increase in unemployment costs to the country. No government can tolerate a drop in it's income - especially ours and at this time - so that money has to be recovered some other way. Now here is the rub: the way it is recovered is by increasing local and national taxes. In other words, when a business goes bust you the person on the street - or what is left of it - are going to pay for it. As for not spending and "cutting down", that is going to cost you too. You can't win. so you might as well get out there and enjoy it.
I wonder if they will have any "Sorry your closing cards?"
Well there fault i looked and saw £4 for card yet went to card factory and bought 7 for £1 lol
Well done, Micky. Your loved ones will know exactly how much they mean to you when they recieve those cards.
I bet they quality was just a good too Micky? I always thought Clintons was extortionate!! Brian, what exactly do you expect people to do with the expensive card you have bought them??? They wont frame them!! They get delivered, they get read then stuck on a mantlepiece for a day or two then recycled or thrown away!!! Its the thought that counts, I get angry with my kids if they spend lots of money on a card for me, it will get kept and put away because im sentimental but they could just write on a scrap bit of paper and id still love and treasure it!!!! Obviously you have money to throw away Brian!!
Julie, my sister-in-law sent me a Christmas card from Cardland which cost her all of 30p. It was complete rubbish and would not even sit upright on my table. I felt that she was telling me "That's how much I think of you" and I have to say it made me think. A card conveys a sentiment and a cheap card conveys the wrong sentiment - it's not what you say but how you say it. Clinton's are bust, thousands of their employees will be jobless, British printing houses who supplied them will go bust too, the desolation of our high streets will get worse because of this. But are you telling me that's ok because you would rather buy a nasty cheap card made by slave labour in China? By the way, I am unemployed having lost my job a few weeks ago.
£4 for a random piece of stiffened paper? People slated me when i first declared i would buy no more cards (exception for my son) but it looks like i'm not the only one.
Windows Live User
I always helped my kids make the cards. That way it was with love. We made their cards in return We all dropped the silly dates created by card manufacturers to boost sales
The fact of the matter is you begrudge spending that £4, or whatever, because it is for the benefit of others. I'm quite sure you think nothing of spending a similar amount, or more, on a coffee and a cake because that is for you. You probably have stopped dropping the odd pound into a charity box because you "can't afford it".
Not at all Brian. I just spend a similar amount on a gift of something more useful. A pint for instance...
Ha Ha Well, Lorgan, I can't argue with that! :)
I am glad that the Woolworths store in Worcester was reoccupied but when I pass through it I always think what if one sector of High Street retail got together and occupied the whole of the floor space: All the charity shops, or all the independents etc. I suppose this collective thinking of overheads savings could have been applied to keep supply dependent outlets from going into financial difficulties as in the sad case of Clintons.
Michael, it's a relief to finally see an intelligent comment about this. I never realised the word "profit" was such anathema to so many. These shops provided employment to hundreds of working class people and the loss of these jobs alone is a disaster. But to some it's seeming more important that Clintons get "justice" for being "too dear". Having read these comments, it's no wonder this country is on the way out.
Nothing wrong with profit. It's when it becomes greed is when there's a problem.
Lorgar, if they had been making a profit they would not now be in administration. If their mark-up was excessive they should have had room to cut prices but they obviously could not.
Another loss to the high street regardless, towns will become nothing more than a row of metal shutters at this rate
Indeed, James. If we lose our towns we will lose our identity and our sense of community. I feel our politicians don't care at all about this issue.
I think this was allways on the cards!!!!!!!
An average of £16.25 million loss year on year ....doesnt take a rocket scientist to see where it was going.