American Greetings firm snaps up Clinton cards

 

The remains of high street chain Clinton Cards were today snapped up by an American greetings cards firm in a deal saving 397 stores and 4,500 jobs.

Ohio-based American Greetings, which has been one of Clinton's biggest suppliers, will take on the brands and assets of the retailer, which collapsed into administration a month ago.

Zolfo Cooper, the administrator, has already announced the closure of around 350 stores, costing the jobs of nearly 3,000 full- and part-time staff.

American Greetings placed itself in pole position to buy the chain after it snapped up Clinton's £35 million bank debt, making it a preferential creditor and giving it a strong position in sale talks.

The US company's UK Greetings operation, which is based in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, has the brands Camden Graphics, Hanson White, Forget Me Not and Xpressions and supplies outlets including major supermarkets.

The final number of stores acquired will be dependent on negotiations with landlords at each location.

Its chief executive Zev Weiss said: "We are pleased to welcome these stores, the Clinton Cards brand, and the approximately 4,500 employees as members of the American Greetings family.

"We believe that properly managed, and with the appropriate capital structure, Clinton Cards can be both an important and profitable retailer in the speciality channel of distribution over the long term."

Zolfo Cooper partner Peter Saville said there was a strong underlying business, with the company paying the price for "excessively ambitious" expansion plans and the impact of intense competition.

He said: "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."

Zolfo said it would now focus its efforts on the store portfolio identified for closure three weeks ago. The first 44 stores out of 350 lined up for closure shut at the end of last month.

The stores being sold made £212 million in sales last year, out of a total of £360 million across the two brands of Clinton Cards and Birthdays.

Clinton Cards, the UK's largest specialist retailer of greetings cards, was founded by chairman Don Lewin in Epping, Essex, in 1968.

Its collapse served as another blow to the high street after recent high-profile casualties including video games retailer Game Group, fashion chain Peacocks and outdoor specialist Blacks Leisure.

American Greetings dates back more than 100 years and generates annual revenues of 1.7 billion US dollars (£1.1 billion) from brands including Carlton Cards, Gibson and Papyrus.

Its UK operations began in the early 1980s with the purchase of long-established industry names - Rust Craft, Celebration Arts Group and Andrew Valentine. They were merged to form one company, Carlton Cards, and after more acquisitions in the 1990s the business took the UK Greetings name.

In March last year, it acquired Corby-based card and gift wrap publisher Watermark, which employed 250 people with annual revenues of around £26 million.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'