Question mark over threatened greetings card retailer in Worksop

Clinton Cards, Bridge Street, Worksop  (w120509-8)
Clinton Cards, Bridge Street, Worksop (w120509-8)

STAFF at Worksop’s Clinton Cards face a nervous wait after its biggest supplier said it planned to push the retail chain into administration.

The retailer, which employs more than 8,000 staff, operates 628 Clintons and 138 Birthdays stores, and has requested its shares be suspended on the London Stock Exchange.

The move comes after its bands sold the company’s £35m of loans to its biggest supplier, American Greetings.

But whereas the banks had waived loan repayments, American Greetings announced on Wednesday this week it will push the company into administration.

The card and gifts retailer becomes the latest casualty on the High Street, following the closure of Peacocks and Woolworths in Worksop.

A Clinton Cards spokesman said: “It is too soon to say how many job losses there will be in Worksop or whether the store will be closed as the administrators are in the process of being appointed.”

Clinton has suffered dire trading in recent months as it comes up against stiff competition from supermarkets and online retailers such as Funky Pigeon and Moonpig, which sell personalised cards.

It made a pre-tax loss of £3.7m in the 26 weeks to 29th 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.

Staff have been told to turn up for work and it is thought the administrators will continue to run the stores as normal while seeking a buyer – although a substantial number of the shops are ultimately expected to close.

The announcement comes after Peacocks fashion store in Worksop closed in February this year, with a loss of 14 jobs.

The Priory Centre shop is one of 224 stores across the country that have ceased trading with immediate effect, with a loss of 3,100 jobs nationwide.

Administrators KPMG took control of the retailer in January after it failed to restructure part of its £750 million debt.

Some 338 UK stores, 57 concessions and three distribution centres have been saved from closure after a takeover was agreed with major retailer Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

Retail experts say figures released this week show the wettest April on record dampened demand for summer fashion as retailers suffered their biggest sales falls for more than a year.