Clinton 'asks for extra rent time'
Embattled retailer Clinton Cards has reportedly been forced to ask its landlords for more time to pay its rent as it struggles with falling sales.
The greetings card and gift retailer has been contacting landlords of its 700-plus shops to ask to pay a third of its rent two weeks after the due date, the Independent on Sunday said.
Rent payments are due at the end of September and many retailers are expected to find the month tough with consumer spending weak after a difficult summer.
Elsewhere on the high street, Ann Harvey and Eastex owner Alexon is understood to have started talks with shareholders about a cash fundraising to help it stay afloat.
Clinton is understood to have made similar requests to landlords in previous Septembers. Companies attempt to reduce or stagger rental payments to help keep trade going to Christmas, their most lucrative period.
Darcy Willson-Rymer will join the chain in October as chief executive after leaving coffee giant Starbucks, where he was UK managing director.
The company earlier this year unveiled a new website and a programme to redesign its stores in a bid to pull in trade. Same-store sales across the group declined 3% in the 40 weeks to May 8, compared with a 2.7% decline in the first 26 weeks of its year.
Clinton is also rumoured to be looking at options to take itself private, delisting from the London Stock Exchange.
Alexon is also reported to be in discussions with new investors which could see it delist and taken private.
The group's market value has plunged to less than £10 million. Shares in the Luton-based firm closed at 7p on Friday, compared with an all-time high of 321p in 2004.