Analysts are “cautiously optimistic” for Clinton Cards’ crucial Christmas trading period after the greeting cards retailer revealed solid trading in recent weeks.

In the 16 weeks to November 22  like-for-likes climbed 3.9%, reflecting a “solid performance across all product categories” and an “exceptional” Halloween period, according to the retailer.

Numis analyst Nick Coulter said: “Following the purchase of 183 Birthdays stores from administration, the division’s sales continue to recover to plan, as inventories re-build. With Clintons well placed ahead of the key run into Christmas we leave our forecasts unchanged.” Numis forecasts a Buy.

Coulter added that Clintons has benefited from the “onset of Armageddon comparatives”.

Clinton Cards plunged the Birthdays chain into administration in May, before buying back parts of the business. It said the “newly constituted Birthdays business continues to improve and is meeting expectations”.

Since the start of the financial period in August the retailer has opened eight stores and closed 10, bringing its portfolio to 859.