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Published: 6th December 2019

Around 2,500 jobs look to have been saved after a deal was struck to keep the cards company Clintons from financial collapse.

The deal will see the greetings card retailer sold back to its current owners in a way that allows it to continue operating in the run up to Christmas and potentially beyond.

There are 334 Clintons stores across the UK but the business has been struggling for profitability in recent quarters.

Hopes are that the rescue deal secured in recent days will provide a boost heading into what tends to be a “crucial” Christmas trading period for the cards company.

“Like so many of our fellow High Street retailers, we have worked tirelessly to contend with the maelstrom of issues impacting the sector, from business rates pressures, to fragile consumer confidence and the lack of clarity around the taxation of online retail businesses,” said Clintons’ boss Eddie Shepherd.

“We are confident that this deal will kickstart a new chapter for our business,” he added.   

Efforts were made in recent weeks to find a potential new buyer for Clintons but no viable options could be found.

“It’s a tough ask for Clintons but if it is to survive and thrive it will need to modernise and revitalise its brand,”

The potential of entering into a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) was also proposed by the company’s bosses and their advisors but the terms put forward were not agreeable to enough of its creditors.

Aspects of the CVA plan would have seen underperforming Clintons outlets shut down and rents reduced at many other stores.

The rescue deal done by the company’s bosses means that they have, in effect, bought their own business out of administration by way of what are called pre-pack arrangements.

In the short term, the business will be able to trade as normal but its long-term prospects remain uncertain.

Julie Palmer, a resident corporate insolvency expert with Begbies Traynor, has said that Clintons has struggled to adapt quickly enough to changing demands and preferences among consumers.

“It’s a tough ask for Clintons but if it is to survive and thrive it will need to modernise and revitalise its brand,” commented Ms Palmer.

“Otherwise this pre-pack could just be a stay of execution for a retailer that has been a mainstay of the High Street for years.”

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