Clinton Cards posts half-year loss

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The Independent Online

The chief executive of Clinton Cards said he was "disappointed" with the recent rise in stamp prices yesterday as the greetings card retailer unveiled a half-year loss.

Royal Mail will raise the price of first and second-class stamps by more than 30 per cent to 60p and 50p from 30 April. Darcy Willson-Rymer, who joined Clinton in October, said it "was not the right thing to do". But he is "comforted" that British people on average still sending 51 cards a year – the highest per head in the world.

The group, which operates 628 Clintons shops, was dragged down by its Birthdays discount chain, which delivered an operating loss of £4.4m over the 26 weeks to 29 January. The loss at the 139-store chain explains why Clinton put Birthdays up for sale this month.

GA Europe, the retail restructuring specialist, is reported to be monitoring the situation at Birthdays. Clinton Cards posted a loss of £3.67m over the half year, on revenues down by 5 per cent to £197.2m. Like-for-like sales fell 1.1 per cent.

Don Lewin, its founder and chairman, will step down on 31 July.