CLINTON Cards today said the surviving part of its Birthdays chain was on the mend after it struck a deal with administrators to reclaim 196 of the stores.
With stock levels decimated by the collapse of the business, like-for-like sales initially fell 22% in the five week period after Clinton paid £3.5 million for the profitable part of the Birthdays estate.
However, Clintons said inventory levels were now back to normal as its most recent trading week showed Birthdays’ sales down by a single digit figure.
Around 750 jobs were lost in June when administrators Zolfo Cooper took over the loss-making business, which Clinton had owned since December 2004.
The company said at the time that it could no longer fund its subsidiary, as 50% of all the brand’s stores were loss-making after the deterioration in the economy added to Birthdays’ already struggling business.
In full-year results for the period to August 2, published today, Clinton Cards said pre-tax profits rose to £24.1 million from £22 million.
It was helped by a resurgent trading performance in the second half of the period from its core estate of 680 Clinton Cards stores.
Chairman Don Lewin said: "We took action to cut costs and address the loss making Birthdays business and we have worked hard to reduce our bank borrowings.
"The rejuvenation of the Birthdays stores is going to plan and our Clinton stores are showing 2.9% growth in like-for-like sales in the first 10 weeks of the current year."