US firm buys two of Brighton and Hove’s three Clinton Cards shops

Posted On 07 Jun 2012 at 8:29 pm

Two of the three Clinton Cards shops in Brighton and Hove have been sold to American Greetings.

It is hoped that the deal will safeguard 24 of the 30 jobs at the three shops.

Thirteen people work at the branch in Churchill Square, Brighton, six in Western Road, Brighton, and eleven in George Street, Hove.

The US business bought the rump of the troubled chain through a subsidiary called Lakeshore Lending for a deal reported to be valued at £24 million.

But the deal does not include the store in Western Road which, along with more than 300 other branches, is still for sale separately or collectively.

If a buyer is not found, the shop is expected to close although no timetable has been made public.

American Greetings has been Clinton’s main supplier for 40 years and the British company owed the US corporation £16 million before it went into administration.

The US business bought Clinton’s £35 million bank debts from two Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland and then called in the loans.

As a result Clinton went into administration on Wednesday 9 May, blaming cash flow problems. Those problems were said to have resulted from a decision to buy the Birthdays chain of card shops.

One of the administrators, Peter Saville, a partner at corporate recovery specialist Zolfo Cooper, said that Clinton Cards had lost more than £130 million as a result of buying Birthdays.

Mr Saville said today (Thursday 7 June): “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.”

Card Factory and WH Smith were reported to have been among the bidders.

Mr Saville added: “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.”

Last year Zolfo Cooper handled the demise of Sussex Stationers, selling on the rump of the business to WH Smith.

Although the Birthdays deal proved costly, the core of Clinton’s business had stayed strong despite some customers switching to online greetings and a recent sharp rise in the cost of postage stamps.

 

  1. Valerie Paynter, Reply

    I hope the American company won’t close the outlets they have now bought. Greetings cards have replaced formal letter writing in so many instances and are, in themselves, little visual gifts to their recipients as much as anything.

    The price of a card and a stamp is hardly a match for the cost of a drink, a cappucino in a cafe, etc. and they signal a more personal and heartfelt effort than the increasingly used Scrooge Specials: the impersonal, emailed, fob-off greeting.

Leave a Reply

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.