Clinton Cards suffers in Ireland

Clinton Cards, the greetings card retailer, has revealed that dire trading in the Republic of Ireland has hit its recent group sales, but said that it was "well prepared" for the crucial Christmas trading period.

The core Clintons chain posted sales down by 3.3 per cent in the 16 weeks to 21 November, while they actually rose by 0.7 per cent at its Birthdays stores.

However, in Ireland, sales at Birthdays plummeted by 14 per cent, which dragged down group sales by 3 per cent.

A spokesman for Clinton Cards said: "The group is well prepared for the important Christmas trading period." The retailer said it had reduced its net debt by £10.4m to £37.7m as of 22 November. Clinton Cards said that its new store format trial was "progressing well" and that it will test the concept in five stores after Christmas.