Greetings card retailer Clintons group like-for-likes fell 2.4% in the 16 weeks to November 20.

Like-for-likes at the eponymous chain were down 2.6% and Birthdays’ fell by 1.4%.

The greetings card specialist said it decided to clear Halloween stock through discounting last month which has hit its margins. It said it would consider running similar discounts post-Christmas to get rid of seasonal stock.

The group said it “remains mindful of the challenging retail environment and cautious consumer sentiment.”

The retailer, which recently renewed its £55m borrowing facilities, said peak borrowings this year were £42.7m which was £10.4m less than last year’s high. Clintons said this reflected the ongoing progress of its cash management and would help in its ambitions to invest in its stores.

Since the start of its financial year beginning August, Clintons has opened two stores and closed 10 bringing its total to 633 while Birthdays has shut 14 stores and now operates from 142 outlets.