Clinton Cards administrators sell 400 stores and close 56

CLINTON CARDS administrators have managed to secure the sale of nearly 400 stores, but have also had to close 56 at the collapsed card retailer.

Peter Saville, Simon Freakley and Anne O’Keefe, partners at Zolfo Cooper, were appointed joint administrators to Clinton Cards and its subsidiaries, including Birthdays Retail, on 9 May 2012.

The administrators managed to sell 397 stores, with a combined turnover of about £212m, to a subsidiary of American Greetings, Lakeshore Lending, which has saved about 4,500 jobs.

American Greetings has annual revenues of about $1.7bn (£1.1bn) and is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio.

At the time of appointment, Clinton Cards was the UK’s largest retailer of greeting cards and related products, with more than 750 stores across its two retail brands, Clinton Cards and Birthdays, and employed about 8,000 staff.

There are still about 332 stores that will remain under the control of the administrators.

Previously, the administrators said there would be 44 store closures at the end of May which would see 300 roles made redundant. However, according to the latest announcement, the number of closures is now 56, although the administrators were unable to give Accountancy Age any indication as to how many staff would be made redundant.

Saville, joint administrator and partner at Zolfo Cooper said: “We have always been of the view that despite an intensely competitive retail environment and what proved to be excessively ambitious expansion plans in recent years, there was a strong underlying business contained within Clinton Cards. The significant number of credible expressions of interest we received for the business we have sold today, from both trade and financial buyers alike, is testament to this fact.

“We would like to thank the staff for their dedication and patience throughout what has been an understandably difficult time for all concerned and we wish both them and the new owners of the business every success for the future.

“Having concluded the sale of the core Clinton Cards business, the joint administrators will now focus their efforts on the store portfolio identified as part of the closure programme announced on 16 May 2012.”

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