Clintons is saved from pre-Christmas collapse

Clintons has once again come back from the brink after the Weiss family repurchased the ailing specialist retail chain immediately after putting it into administration on December 4 2019. This is the second time in seven years that Clintons has been bought out of administration.

In what is known as a pre-pack process, the company was able to drop its debt and reopen negotiations with landlords, but its long-term future is not secure.

Will Wright and Steve Absolom from KPMG’s restructuring practice were joint administrators of the deal, which saved 2,500 jobs in 334 Clintons stores around the UK. The administrators sold the brand and assets of Clintons to Esquire Retail Limited, a company newly incorporated by the Weiss family.

The move comes a couple of weeks after Clintons discussed compensation of £2million with landlords amid speculation that a CVA agreement would be signed.

The Weiss family also owns a 40 per cent stake in card publishing giant, American Greetings, the former parent company of Clintons and big sister of UK Greetings. Up until 2018, the family had a majority stake in American Greetings.

Clintons CEO, Eddie Shepherd said: “We are pleased to have been able to secure the future of the Clintons business, protecting all of our talented 2500-strong workforce and ensuring continuation of trade across all of our UK store network at what is a crucial time of the year for the business.

“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.

“As part of our exploration of sale options to secure the future of the business, we entered into extensive discussions with stakeholders with a view to entering into a CVA. Despite receiving support from a number of landlords, we were unfortunately unable to secure the requisite support needed to successfully launch our proposals. With no other investment options available, we therefore had to take the difficult step to place the company into administration. We are confident that this deal will kickstart a new chapter for our business.”

In 2018, the specialist greeting card and gifts retailer saw sales fall to £188 million, down from £201 million in the previous year. Its losses also shrank from £19.4 million in 2019 to £14.2 million in 2018. Around 90 stores were thought to be making a loss with further decline in sales expected.

Clinton Cards, was formed in the UK in 1968, and has been owned by the Weiss Family since 2012.