Cards retailer increases market share, but notes more to be done to improve Birthdays acquisition
Clinton Cards is reaping the benefits of the Birthday's acquisition, with an increase in pre-tax profits for the past financial year of 20 per cent.

The greeting cards retailer said that the timing of the acquisition, just before Christmas, boosted turnover at a critical period in the year and increased market share from 18 per cent to 24 per cent.

In the 52 weeks to January 30, the group boosted its total turnover from£394.9 million to£460.4 million, an increase of 16 per cent. Profit before tax increased from£29.5 million to£35.5 million. Like-for-like sales for the retailer rose over the period by 1.9 per cent.

Total sales in the first 10 weeks of the new financial year increased 2.7 per cent to£82.9 million. Like-for-like sales were flat.

Clinton Cards chairman Don Lewin said: 'Clearly at a time of some uncertainty on the high street, we will be working hard to ensure that we meet challenging consumer demands, coupled with the task of returning Birthdays to profitability. However, in the short term, immediate actions and initiatives have been taken to create a platform from which we can start to take the Birthdays business forward.'

Four Birthday's stores have been disposed of and work has commenced to modernise the Birthdays stores, including the repositioning of tills at the front of the shop floor to improve store security and customer service.

As mentioned in the retailer's Christmas trading update, Stuart McKay was appointed managing director of Birthdays. He has a track record of 15 years in greeting cards retailing. The retailer said that the two brands would continue to be managed as separate entities with their own management boards.