Birthdays improves but main chain slips
Clinton Cards today warned that market conditions remain difficult, as its interim results revealed a pre-tax loss.

The cards retailer delivered a pre-tax loss of£17.6 million for the six months to July 31, against a profit of£4.1million last year. Sales, excluding VAT, rose to£213.4 million from£156.3 million the year before.

Birthdays boosted the retailer's overall performance, with like-for-like sales up 5.4 per cent. However, like-for-like sales at Clinton Cards fell by 3.1 per cent The group said in a statement: 'Current market conditions are extremely difficult, with weak consumer spending and lower footfall on the high street.'

Clinton Cards chairman Don Lewin said: 'The next few weeks leading up to Christmas are not easy to predict but we are confident about our Christmas offering in both brands.'