Following speculation that the board of Clinton Cards may be considering a management buyout of the company, it has now emerged that the specialist greetings retailer is seeking to appoint a new group managing director.
Foundedin 1968 by Don Lewin, now aged 77, Clinton Cards has always been managed by a family member. The current MD is Lewin’s son Clinton, after whom the chain is names. As soon as the new appointment is made Clinton is likely to step into a new role, possibly as chairman.
Don Lewin’s daughter Debbie Darlington is also a board member and product development director and family members own a third of the quoted business between them.
Clinton Cards has been embattled for some a few years, beset with problems from the Birthdays business, tough competition from supermarkets, budget card sellers and online retailers. The company issued a profit warning in January 2011 and in March put the Birthdays business in Ireland into administration.
The management structure is likely to be implemented as soon as possible, with the board already in talks with prospective candidates from outside the company.
Clinton Cards has reduced the number of stores in its portfolio over the past six years, from a high of 1,300 to 800. It is fighting plummetting sales with the launch of a new store forma, website and product personalisation service.