Two town centre shops under threat

Clinton Cards, Priory Meadow, Hastings
Clinton Cards, Priory Meadow, Hastings

TWO more town centre shops face an uncertain future as Clinton Cards went into administration on Wednesday (May 9).

The company owns the Clinton Cards and Birthdays chains, and around 10 local jobs are at risk across both stores in Priory Meadow Shopping Centre.

Clinton Cards is the UK’s largest specialist retailer of greetings cards and related products with more than 750 stores, 15 of which are in Sussex, and employing more than 8,000 full-time and part-time staff.

Administrators were appointed after the group experienced cash flow problems due to difficult trading conditions, particularly increased competition from supermarkets and online retailers, and they said that the group had made losses of £130million since 2004.

Peter Saville, Joint Administrator and Partner at Zolfo Cooper said: “It is likely that a number of stores will need to be closed in order to make the business financially viable. However, Clinton Cards and Birthdays are very well-known brands on the high street and we believe that there is a strong underlying core business.

“We are therefore confident that it is an attractive proposition for a range of potential buyers.”

This latest news brings the total number of town centre shops threatened with closure this year to eight.

Past Times, The Early Learning Centre, and Gamestation have closed after the companies ran into trouble, while there were fears for Game, Bonmarché, and Peacocks, which remain open.

Clothing chain Next decided to close its Priory Meadow store in December last year.

John Hough, manager of Priory Meadow Shopping Centre, did not view the closure of Clinton Cards and Birthdays as a foregone conclusion.

“Of the other retailers that have entered administration, the vast majority have been able to carry on trading,” he said.