Clintons closing stores but refuse to say if five Northamptonshire sites are under threat

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Troubled greetings card chain has five shops across the county

Clintons is refusing to say if any of their five greetings card stores across Northamptonshire are on a list of permanent closures.

The long-troubled retailer, formerly Clinton Cards, was saved from collapse by a rescue deal just before Christmas.

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But it has been reported that at least three stores elsewhere in the country will not be re-opening after the Covid-19 lockdown ends and bosses at Clintons issued a firm "no comment" when asked if any of their sites in Northampton, Wellingborough, Kettering, Corby and Daventry could follow.

Northampton's Clintons store in Abington Street is in a prime location between the former Marks & Spencer and British Home Stores site, which are both already empty.

Debenhams future in the town centre is also under threat after the department store called in administrators earlier this month.

Clintons chief executive Eddie Shepherd promised in December: “We are confident that this deal will kickstart a new chapter for our business."

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But stores in Newquay, Bourne and Wokingham have already shut. Local reports revealed the Wokingham store closed when the Covid-19 lockdown kicked in March but has now been gutted with signs and fittings removed.

Clintons store in Northampton's Abington StreetClintons store in Northampton's Abington Street
Clintons store in Northampton's Abington Street | other

Statements from the chain revealed the new owners had conducted a review of the business and struggled to reach a deal with landlords over rent cuts.

Regarding the store in Wokingham, Berkshire, it said: “Following the sale of the business to Esquire Retail Limited in December 2019, we are reviewing the leases in our store portfolio. We can confirm that the Wokingham store has closed as we were unable to agree commercial terms to support the long term viability of the store.

“In this case, the terms of the lease renewal for our Wokingham store were cost-prohibitive.”

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Similar statements were issued confirming closures in Bourne, Lincolnshire, and Newquay in Cornwall.

Clinton Cards was a big name on the high street for more than 50 yearsClinton Cards was a big name on the high street for more than 50 years
Clinton Cards was a big name on the high street for more than 50 years | other

The company was founded in 1968 and grew into one of the most familiar names on the UK high street.

It collapsed in 2012 before being bought by an American company which closed 350 branches and launched a major re-branding.

But Clintons hit more trouble last year after losing £33.6million over two years.

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