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Clintons Rescued via Pre-Pack Administration Sale to Existing Owners

Greetings cards

Greetings card and gifts retail chain Clintons have secured a rescue deal allowing the firm’s 334 stores to continue trading as normal and saving around 2,500 jobs.

The company, which previously traded as Clintons Cards, was founded in 1968 and has been owned by the US-based Weiss family since 2012. However, like many high street retailers, Clintons have struggled in recent years due to challenging trading conditions, high business rates and people’s continuing shift to online shopping.

In November KPMG were appointed to advise on restructuring options, including exploring a potential sale and the possibility of a proposing a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA). At that time it was reported they would be looking to close 66 stores and agree significant rent reductions on those remaining open.

Eddie Shepherd, chief executive of Clintons, said:

“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.”

Instead, KPMG’s Will Wright and Steve Absolom were today appointed as joint administrators of AG Retail Cards Limited, the owners of Clintons. The brand and assets of the business were then immediately sold to Esquire Retail Limited, a new company formed on the 28th November 2019 also controlled by the Weiss family, in a process called Pre-Pack Administration.

Following today’s announcement Eddie Shepherd said:

“We are pleased to have been able to secure the future of the Clintons business, protecting all of our talented 2,500-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.

We are confident that this deal will kickstart a new chapter for our business.”

Will Wright, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, added:

“Clintons has been a fixture on the British high street for over 50 years, so it is pleasing to have been able to secure this agreement which will see it continue to trade.”

The news highlights a difficult year for the retail sector with a number of brands, including prominent names such as Mothercare, Maplin and Poundworld, entering liquidation or administration.

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Thomas Grummitt and Andrew Smith are licensed to act as Insolvency Practitioners in the UK by the Insolvency Practitioners Association. In carrying out all work related to an insolvency appointment, insolvency practitioners are bound by the insolvency code of ethics and are subject to the regulations and guidance of their authorising body. Details of the code of ethics, statements of insolvency practice and other regulations and guidance issued by the Insolvency Practitioners Association can be found here: