By Dan Santy 10/05 Updated: 24/05 10:47
JOBS are under threat after high street chain Clinton Cards collapsed into administration.
The card retailer, which runs Clinton Cards and Birthdays stores, has a shop in Rugby's Clock Towers shopping centre, along with a number of stores across Warwickshire including Leamington and Stratford.
Yesterday (Wednesday) it asked for its shares to be suspended on the Stock Exchange after its largest supplier, American Greetings, called in its debts.
Clinton Cards is the country's biggest card retailer - employing over 8,000 people nationwide at its 628 Clintons and 139 Birthdays stores.
Its administrator, Zolfo Cooper, will continue to run most stores as normal while it seeks a buyer, but some branches will close.
Partner Peter Saville said: "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.
"Our first priority is to stabilise the business and assess its financial position.
"We will continue to trade while we undertake a full marketing exercise to find buyers for all or parts of the group.
"It is likely a number of stores will need to be closed in order to make the business viable.
"However, Clinton Cards and Birthdays are very well-known brands on the high street and we believe there is a strong underlying core business."
Clintons has suffered in the face of competition from supermarkets and online retailers like Funky Pigeon and Moonpig.
The company's shares have lost more than 80 per cent of their value since the start of 2010.
It recorded a pre-tax loss of £3.7 million in the six months to January 29 and warned the second half of the year would be below expectations.
This compared with a profit of £11.7 million the previous year.
Clinton Cards was founded in 1968 when Don Lewin opened a store in Epping, Essex.
Store numbers swelled thanks to acquisitions, including Hallmark Cards and the Birthdays Group.
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