High street card shop to close 38 branches in bid to avoid collapse | The Sun

A MAJOR high street card shop will close 38 shops as part of a fresh bid to avoid collapse.

Clintons will shutter dozens of stores in another major blow to UK high streets.

Restructuring experts FRP Advisory and law firm Jones Day presented a plan to save the business in an insolvency court yesterday.

The deal will help save thousands of jobs and over one hundred shops across the UK.

But the retailer will still have to close 38 of its 225 stores in the hope that it'll return to profitability.

The restructuring plan cuts the amount of business rates and rent Clintons has to pay on the loss-making stores that are set to close, according to the Evening Standard.

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Landlords and local councils will receive just 8.6p for every pound owed by Clintons on these 38 stores.

Jeff and Zev Weiss, the owners of the Clintons, have also agreed to provide a revolving loan facility to keep the chain afloat for the next 12 months.

The Sun has asked Clintons for a list of the 38 stores set to close for good.

The card shop has already closed a string of stores earlier this year.

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Clintons had been exploring a merger with Paperchase at the beginning of the year, but this failed after the stationary chain collapsed into administration in January.

Clintons was founded in 1968 but it has struggled in recent years due in part to high business rates and a change in people's shopping habits with people moving online.

The retailer has also struggled to compete with rivals on the high street and online.

Card Factory is its biggest high street rival, as well as online players Moonpig and Funky Pigeon.

Speculation had been raised over the firm's future when it announced back in 2019 that it urgently needed to close 66 of its sites to avoid collapse.

The firm resolved its woes by entering into what's known as a "pre-pack administration" back in December 2019.

Clintons brand and its assets – its shops, staff and website – were sold to a new company called Esquire Retail Limited.

The move involved hundreds of job losses and store closures.

At its peak before administration, the retailer had 2,500 staff working across 335 shops.

Why are retailers closing stores?

Retailers have been feeling the pinch since the pandemic while shoppers are cutting back on spending due to soaring inflation.

High energy costs and a shift to shopping online after the pandemic are also taking a toll and many high street shops have struggled to keep going.

Brands like Frasers have been moving and relocating profitable stores and brands within department stores but other brands have been shutting stores for good.

The inability to renegotiate rents and agreements with landlords is also putting pressure on some retailers to pull out of some locations.

A number of well-known retailers including Argos, Lloyds Pharmacy and Poundstretcher have closed stores in recent months.

But others have been hit so hard they've been left on the brink of administration.

Wilko appointed administrators earlier this month, and all control of the business has now been passed over to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as it looks for a buyer.

It continues to trade as normal for the time being but it could take weeks to find out if the brand could be rescued by a rival.

However, some big brands are expanding the number of stores they operate.

Poundland is opening 15 new stores over the next few weeks.

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These openings form part of the retailer's plans to bring the shutters up on 50 new stores by the end of the year.

B&M is also opening more than a dozen new branches across the UK by the end of 2023.

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