Deal saves 4,500 jobs
A total of 397 stores in the Clinton Card chain have been sold to its largest trade creditor, saving 4,500 jobs.
Administrators Zolfo Cooper said a subsidiary of American Greetings – Lakeshore Lending Ltd – has acquired the assets and brands of the chain, including 19 Clinton stores in Scotland and two Birthdays outlets.
A further 19 Scottish Clinton stores and three Birthdays branches remain in the hands of the administrators Zolfo Cooper, who indicated in May a total of 350 stores, employing around 3,000 full and part-time employees, had been earmarked for closure.
No value has been attributed to the American Greetings deal, though the US-based company had previously acquired £36 million of Clinton's senior debt from Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays.
As a preferred creditor, American Greetings had a strong position in the sale negotiations for the remaining Clinton outlets.
The Ohio-based company said the outlets and brands it has acquired represents approximately $315 million (£202.5 million) in annual revenues, or approximately $265 million (£170.4 million) excluding revenues generated from its sale of American Greetings products.
The final number of stores acquired in the deal will depend upon negotiations with landlords at each location.
American Greetings, Clinton's largest supplier, was instrumental in the retailer entering administration after it failed to meet loan repayments, putting 8,000 jobs at risk.
Clinton had suffered a sharp fall in sales in recent years in the face of increasing competition from supermarkets and the rise in popularity of digitally-let greetings and messages.
The company reported a £3.7 million loss for the 26 weeks to the end of January against a profit of £11.7 million for the same period a year earlier.
American Greetings chief executive Zev Weiss said: “We are pleased to welcome these stores, the Clinton Cards brand, and the approximately 4,500 employees as members of the American Greetings family.
“We believe that properly managed, and with the appropriate capital structure, Clinton Cards can be both an important and profitable retailer in the speciality channel of distribution over the long term.”