Clinton Cards facing tough times

Struggling British cards and gifts retailer Clinton Cards has said sales are falling at a worsening rate as it battles tough trading conditions. The firm, also facing intense competition from supermarkets and the internet, said yesterday that sales at stores open over a year fell 2.4 per cent in the 16 weeks to 20 November. That compares with a decline of 1.5 per cent in the first 12 weeks of its financial year, reported last month. “During the last month we took the decision to convert seasonal Halloween stock to cash through a price led promotion strategy which was successful albeit at a reduced margin,” said the firm, which trades from 633 Clinton Cards stores and 142 Birthdays outlets. Clinton said it planned to use the same price cutting tactic after Christmas.