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
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: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee