The management team, headed up by founder Don Lewin’s son Clinton, is thought to have approached city banks with a view to buying the company back from the stock exchange. The board of Clinton Cards already owns around a third of the business, which is now valued at £33 million.
Clinton Cards has been increasingly embattled of late, with like for like sales down by another 3% according to its latest financial statement. The company, shares in which have fallen by 60 per cent over the last year, says difficult trading conditions on the high street account for the fall. It has issued two profit warnings in the past year and is feeling increasingly uncomfortable under the glare of the stock exchange spotlight.
Sometimes criticised for being old-fashioned, and struggling against budget retailer Card Factory, Clinton Cards fought back with refreshed branding and store design from last year and has already launched four redesigned stores. These feature a new layout, display fixtures, colour scheme and directional signage. Last month it launched a new website.
Watermark Publishing, which designs and creates greetings products exclusively for Clinton Cards, was recently sold to major Clinton’s supplier UK Greetings for an undisclosed sum.