Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Facelift on the cards for Clinton as profits slump

Clinton Cards unveiled plans for an overhaul of its stores and website in a bid to modernise the brand after a difficult year for trading.

The retailer said it would update "the look and feel" of its Clinton stores, which could include a new logo, revamped shop fronts and redesigned uniforms.

The company will be presented with the plans by a consultancy next week and hopes to trial the restyled look at five stores from February.

Clinton, which employs 8,500 staff, will unveil its new website in January, encompassing the new branding and a feature offering customers personalised card and gift services.

The plans were revealed as Clinton reported a drop in group like-for-like sales of 2.9% in the 10 weeks to October 10, following on from a slump in pre-tax profits in the year to August 1 from £24m to £11m.

Group managing director Clinton Lewin said aspects of the brand were "old fashioned" and needed to be brought into the 21st century.

He said: "We are confident that this will help to keep Clinton Cards the market leading specialist card retailer and provide the platform for sustainable profits growth."

The overhaul follows a challenging period for the group, which has more than 800 stores under the Clinton and Birthdays brands.

Its Birthdays business went into administration in June last year, but Clinton struck a deal to reclaim 196 of the stores.

The group said the brand "suffered significantly from the damaged caused by the administration process", which continued to have an impact in the 2009/2010 financial year.

It sought advice on overhauling the brand, conducting the largest market research survey in the firm's history.

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