RETAILER Clinton Cards has collapsed into administration, putting more than 8,000 jobs at risk across the country, including dozens in South Yorkshire.
The group, which is the UK’s biggest specialist cards retailer and operates 628 Clinton and 139 Birthdays stores, collapsed into administration after failing to find a buyer for all or parts of the business.
Administrators at Zolfo Cooper said the group had made losses of £130 million since 2004 and it was “likely a number of stores would need to be closed to make the business financially viable”.
Zolfo will continue to trade the business as a going concern and said it remained confident it will be attractive to potential buyers.
Clinton’s plight was sealed after its banks - Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland - sold the company’s £35 million of loans to its biggest supplier.
But whereas the banks waived certain conditions, American Greetings told the company it planned to enforce the loan, pushing the company into an administration process.
Peter Saville, joint-administrator at Zolfo, said the company suffered “extremely challenging” conditions, particularly at Birthdays, but added there was a strong underlying business.
He said: “Despite evaluating ways to restructure the business, Clinton 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.”
Clinton stores in the region include Fargate in Sheffield city centre, Middlewood Road in Hillsborough and Dronfield, Meadowhall and Crystal Peak shopping centres, all in Sheffield, Park Gate Shopping Centre and College Street in Rotherham, Frenchgate Centre in Doncaster, Queen Street in Barnsley and Vicar Lane in Chesterfield.
Birthdays stores include Meadowhall, Crystal Peaks, Park Gate and Frenchgate shopping centres and Lakeside Village Outlet in Doncaster.