Birthdays’ administrator Zolfo Cooper has accepted two offers for a total of 210 stores. The deals safeguard 1350 jobs but 800 will go as the remaining 132 shops will shut.

Zolfo Cooper partner Peter Saville expects to finalise contracts on two offers for 199 and 11 shops respectively “in a matter of days”.

The identity of the prospective purchasers has not yet been disclosed, but Clinton Cards – which ran the Birthdays chain until its collapse – is known to have sought a deal on the profitable rump chain.

The closure of the rest of Birthdays’ shops and the head office at Bury, Lancashire, has begun and all stores will cease trading by close of business next Wednesday.

Saville said: “All employees have been made aware of the situation and we are grateful for the understanding of staff, customers and suppliers throughout the administration process.

“We will also be writing to landlords shortly to inform them fully of the situation.”