Mr Blobby helps to keep Clinton Cards in the pink

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The Independent Online
MR BLOBBY helped Clinton Cards, the greetings card retailer, to a 14.7 per cent rise in sales in the six weeks to 1 January, writes Heather Connon.

The rise was partly due to extra selling space, with an increase of about 10 per cent in the number of stores over 1992, but like-for-like sales were about 3.3 per cent ahead.

Christmas accounts for about 30 per cent of the card market but, because Clinton also sells gifts and related items, it represents only about a fifth of its business.

Barry Hartog, finance director, said: 'We are within our expectations for the year.' He added that merchandise depicting the Mr Blobby character from the BBC television programme Noel's House Party had proved very popular.

Clinton came to the market in 1988 and made a pounds 163,000 loss in the year to January 1992 as shoppers switched to corner shops for their cards. Since then it has recovered and Panmure Gordon, the house broker, is forecasting pounds 3m for the year to end-January, up from pounds 2.3m.

Meanwhile, TJ Hughes, the discount retailer, said trading in its 13 stores over Christmas had been in line with expectations.

A number of other retailers, including Boots, Storehouse and Laura Ashley, have already made encouraging trading statements and Sears and Argos are expected to make theirs later this week.

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