UPDATED: Clinton’s Cards has gone into administration

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THE FUTURE of Clinton Cards is in doubt today (Wednesday) after the company announced it was heading into administration.

The UK’s largest greeting card company, which runs 628 Clinton’s and 139 Birthdays stores, asked for shares to be suspended after £35million of the company’s debts were sold to its biggest supplier American Greetings yesterday.

Horsham’s Swan Walk Shopping Centre has both a Birthdays and Clinton’s store, so it could mean more empty units for the town, although no closures or job losses have been announced.

In a statement a Clinton’s spokesman said: “Having secured control of the debt, American Greetings immediately informed the board that it intended to enforce the loan against the company.

“The board has concluded that because it is unable to repay the loan it has no option but to concur with American Greetings proposal to place the company and its subsidiaries into administration.”

This afternoon Peter Saville joint administrator and Partner at Zolfo Cooper confirmed the company’s situation.

He said: “Recently, Clinton’s has been faced with extremely challenging trading conditions, particularly in its Birthdays subsidiary, where the combined cost to the Group in terms of acquisition cost and accumulated losses is estimated to have been in excess of £130 million since 2004. Despite evaluating ways to restructure its business, Clinton’s was unfortunately unable to secure adequate support or funding for its restructuring plans. The challenging business environment, and in particular the increased competition for greetings cards and related products, meant that the Group required radical restructuring and administration was the last remaining option available.

“Our first priority is to stabilise the business and assess its financial position. We will continue to trade the business whilst we undertake a full marketing exercise to find buyers for all or parts of the Group so that the best possible outcome can be achieved for stakeholders.

“It is likely that a number of stores will need to be closed in order to make the business financially viable. However, Clinton Cards and Birthdays are very well-known brands on the high street and we believe that there is a strong underlying core business. We are therefore confident that it is an attractive proposition for a range of potential buyers and welcome expressions of interest from third parties.”

What do you think about the news? Where do you shop for greetings cards? Leave your comments below.