Yorkshire shops among Clinton Cards closures

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STORES in Leeds and Sheffield were among 43 shops closed at collapsed retailer Clinton Cards yesterday, with the loss of more than 400 jobs across the country.

The group, the UK’s biggest specialist cards retailer, fell into administration last month, although 397 of its stores were sold to Ohio-based American Greetings on Thursday, saving 4,500 jobs.

Administrators at Zolfo Cooper yesterday closed 43 of the 330 stores not included in the deal, leading to 408 redundancies. They had closed 44 sites last month and are looking for buyers for the remaining stores in a bid to save nearly 3,000 full and part-time jobs.

The ailing high street retailer, which operated the Clinton and Birthdays brands, had nearly 800 stores and employed more than 8,000 staff in total. Yesterday, its Clinton Cards store in Commercial Street, Leeds, and the Birthdays store at The Gallery, in Sheffield were among those to shut.

Clinton Cards collapsed into administration after its biggest supplier, American Greetings, called in a £35m debt, putting it in pole position to buy the chain by making it a preferential creditor.

The US company’s UK operation, which is based in Dewsbury, has the brands Camden Graphics, Hanson White, Forget Me Not and Xpressions and supplies outlets including major supermarkets.

The collapse of Clinton Cards, founded in 1968, served as another blow to the high street after recent high-profile casualties including video games retailer Game Group, fashion chain Peacocks and outdoor specialist Blacks Leisure.