Cards on the table as Clinton closes in Kirkcaldy

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KIRKCALDY will lose its Clinton Cards shop after the Mercat Shopping Centre outlet was not included in a deal to save 397 of the chain’s stores from closure.

The company, founded in 1968 and the UK’s biggest card retailer, ended up in administration last month after it was unable to repay £35 million of loans which had been bought from banks by its largest supplier, American Greetings Corporation.

Joint administrators Zolfo Cooper was appointed to run the company and last week concluded the sale of the Clinton Cards brand and assets to Lakeshore Lending Ltd, a subsidiary of American Greetings.

The only Fife store included in the deal was the one in Dunfermline’s Kingsgate Centre, with the shops in Kirkcaldy, Glenrothes and Leven among around 350 which remained under the control of the joint administrators.

Zolfo Cooper said it “continues to welcome expressions of interest for this part of the estate, as a whole or in part” but with the brand name having been sold, these shops will not continue to trade as Clinton Cards and have little value, and are most likely to be closed.

Indeed, a number of shops were closed by the joint administrators last month, and Zolfo Cooper announced a further 43 had been closed at the beginning of this week.

The Kirkcaldy shop is still trading at the moment, but is currently selling off all its stock, with posters in its window declaring: “Everything must go.” Zolfo Cooper said around half a dozen jobs were affected at the Mercat centre shop.

Peter Saville, a partner at Zolfo Cooper, said following its appointment as joint administrators it had evaluated the group’s business with a view to preserving both value and employment, whilst recognising that the group carried an “unrealistic and financially unsustainable store footprint”.

Mr Saville added: “As a part of this exercise, the joint administrators took the decision to announce a nationwide store closure programme on May 16, creating a core estate of approximately 400 stores.

“This core estate supports a viable business and is significantly better placed to operate in today’s challenging market.

“We would like to thank the staff for their dedication and patience throughout what has been an understandably difficult time for all concerned and we wish both them and the new owners of the business every success for the future.”