THERE will be at least one more empty unit in Horsham’s shopping centre in the coming weeks after administrators announced all Birthdays stores across the country will be closing.
Clinton’s Cards Ltd announced it was going into administration earlier this month and Peter Saville, Simon Freakley and Anne O‟Keefe, Partners at Corporate Advisory and Restructuring specialists Zolfo Cooper, were appointed Joint Administrators over Clinton Cards Plc and its subsidiaries, including Birthdays Retail Limited on May 9.
Last night (Wednesday) they said they have taken the ‘regrettable’ decision to close nearly half of the company’s stores nationwide.
This means six people at the Swan Walk Shopping Centre Birthdays store are set to lose their jobs and the future of the nine Clinton’s employees remains uncertain.
Since their appointment, the Joint Administrators and their teams have been working to assess and stabilise the company’s financial position with a view to preserving value and seeking to sell the business as a going concern.
In the course of this work it has become clear that the business is burdened with an untenable retail estate and as such, the Joint Administrators have regrettably taken the decision to close approximately 350 stores from the total estate of 784 stores nationwide.
The stores in question are located throughout the country and employ approximately 2,800 full time and part time staff.
They include all stores branded as Birthdays and approximately 200 Clinton Cards branded stores.
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.”
The store closure programme will begin during the week commencing May 21 2012 and continue into June.
Exact locations, timings and employee numbers will be confirmed shortly.