Not so happy for Birthday card store

ANOTHER of our High Street stores, Clinton Cards, has gone into administration.

The company which also owns Birthdays called in the administrators last week.

Birthdays has a store in Lurgan’s Market Street and Clinton Cards has stores in Rushmere Shopping Centre and Portadown.

The firm is the latest in a number of firms to either go into administration or to close.

In March BDG ceased trading with the loss of around 50 jobs.

Bon Marche ceased trading recently and GAME has also faced financial problems.

Clinton Cards operates 628 Clinton and 139 Birthdays stores and is the UK’s biggest card retailer.

According to its website it has 8,350 employees across the UK, mostly working in store, many on a part-time basis.

There are around 4,800 Birthdays employees.

It is thought the administrators will continue to run the stores as normal while seeking a buyer, but Zolfo Cooper, administrator for Clinton Cards, warned it was likely that “a number of stores” will need to be closed to make the business viable.

There are 14 Clinton Cards stores in Northern Ireland and 16 Birthdays outlets, but the company couldn’t confirm how many people it employed here.

Clinton has come up against stiff competition from supermarkets and online retailers.

It made a pre-tax loss of £3.7m in the 26 weeks to January 29, compared with a profit of £11.7m in the previous year, and warned that the second half of the year would be below expectations.

Administrators at Zolfo Cooper said the group had made losses of £130m since 2004.

Clintons Cards stores are located in Portadown, Ballymena, Banbridge, Craigavon, Downpatrick, Antrim, Bangor, Newtownards, Lisburn, Newtownabbey and four in Belfast - Connswater, Forestside, Castle Court and Donegall Place. The Birthdays branches are in Armagh, Ballymena, Belfast, Coleraine, Cookstown, Craigavon, Dungannon, Enniskillen, Larne, Limavady, Lisburn, Lurgan, Newtownabbey, Newtownards, Omagh and Strabane.