A QUESTION mark hangs over the future of a major gift and card retailer after it announced plans that it could be heading into administration.
Hundreds of Clinton Cards stores could close and more than 8,000 staff it employs could loose jobs.
The latest blow comes after its biggest American supplier revealed that it was owed money by the chain which could push it into administration.
In a statement, Clinton Cards, said: “That it expects a subsidiary of American Greetings Corporation, (“American Greetings”), the company’s largest supplier, to take steps to place the company and its subsidiaries into administration later today and has therefore requested a suspension of dealings in its shares with immediate effect.
“Clinton Cards was informed last night that Barclays Bank plc and Royal Bank of Scotland plc had sold the company’s loan facilities to American Greetings. The outstanding indebtedness under such loan facilities is approximately £35m.
“However, having secured control of the debt, American Greetings immediately informed the board that it intended to enforce the loan against the company and the board has concluded that because it is unable to repay the loan it has no option but to concur with American Greetings proposal to place the company and its subsidiaries into administration.”
The UK chain runs approximately 767 stores under Clinton Cards, including the Lumley Road, Skegness store and also the Birthdays stores.
Glenis Brown, chair of the Skegness and District Chamber of Commerce, said of the news: “It’s very sad to hear that this shop could close, it will leave a large gap in Lumley Road and it was a nice shop to have in the town.
“Although I’m not surprised, because in my opinion, I found it to be quite expensive compared to the other shops we have in the town.
“I know Clintons tried to bring down their prices to suit but in these times people are not spending as much and I think they are prepared to spend more on the gift rather than the card and wrapping.
“I’m sad to say, I was expecting this and it will be hard for all those people who may loose their jobs as a result.”
Staff so far, have been working as normal and it is thought the administrators may continue to run the shops as usual while working through the administration and looking for another buyer.
However, fears have been raised about the substantial number of stores that could close.
If Clinton Cards close, it would join the Publishers Book Clearance discount book store, La Senza and Jonathon James as an empty unit for the town.
The retailers financial problems, join the previous closure fears of fashion retailer Peacocks, Bon Marche and the video retailer Game, who were all saved.