Closure threat for card store
CLINTON Cards store in Dover is under threat of closure after the greeting card company went into administration.
The firm, which employs six people at the store in Biggin Street, and its administrators Zolfo Coopers, say they are likely to close premises around the country but would not confirm which ones are to be axed.
Peter Saville, joint administrator, said: "It is likely that a number of stores will need to be closed in order to make the business financially viable.
"Recently, Clintons has been faced with extremely challenging trading conditions, particularly in its Birthdays subsidiary, where the combined cost to the Group in terms of acquisition cost and accumulated losses is estimated to have been in excess of £130 million since 2004."
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No redundancies or closures had been made at time of writing, and stores remain open for business. Zolfo Coopers say it is hopeful of the search for new buyers.
Mr Saville added: "Clinton Cards and Birthdays are very well-known brands on the high street and we believe there is a strong underlying core business.
"We are therefore confident that it is an attractive proposition for a range of potential buyers and welcome expressions of interest from third parties."
The Chief Executive of Dover District Chamber of Commerce, David Foley, said the news was another blow to the town, but insists there is potential in Dover for businesses.
He said: "We hope that Dover will be one of the stores that will be saved by the administrator.
"The potential in Dover is considerable. Thirteen million people come through the port, there are 400 new apartments being built, and there is development on the seafront.
Mr Foley added: "Our thoughts are with the staff that have families, but we are hopeful and optimistic that administrators see the potential in Dover."
Mr Foley said businesses have to adapt digitally to remain a competitive force, and he believes Clinton Cards' failure to do this was a key factor in it losing out to other greeting cards companies.
He said: "It's important that businesses adapt to the second decade of the 21st century.
"Clinton's now has to fix it when they should have predicted and prepared."
Administrators were called in when the chain's largest supplier, American Greetings, bought its debt from two UK banks and then demanded repayment.
The business operates 628 Clinton and 139 Birthday stores and has 8,350 employees across the UK.