Clintons goes ‘cap in hand’ to landlords
Clinton Cards has written to its landlords to ask for more time to pay its rent to help it cope with falling sales and continue trading over its most lucrative Christmas period.
The greetings card and gift retailer has been contacted landlords of its 700-plus shops according to reports in The Independent on Sunday and Property Week. The letter requests to pay two thirds of its rent two weeks prior to the rent quarter date on 29 September, and the remaining third two weeks after the quarter date.
Many retailers are expected to find the rent payments tough this month with consumer spending weak after a difficult summer. Clinton is understood to have made similar requests to landlords in previous Septembers. Companies attempt to reduce or stagger rental payments to help keep trade going to Christmas, their most lucrative period.
The retailer insisted in the letter that “this split of our rental payments is not an ongoing requirement, simply a request for temporary assistance to ease our cash flow.”
Clintons told its landlords that the “majority” of those already contacted have agreed to the provisions, but some larger landlords are understood to have refused the request.
The retailer is also understood to be closing some of its stores at lease expiry or where there are break options.
The company unveiled a new website and a programme to redesign its stores early this summer in a bid to pull in trade. Same-store sales across the group declined 3 percent in the 40 weeks to May 8, compared with a 2.7 percent decline in the first 26 weeks of its year.
Darcy Willson-Rymer will join the chain in October as chief executive after leaving coffee giant Starbucks, where he was UK managing director.
Clintons is also rumoured to be looking at options to take itself private, delisting from the London Stock Exchange.