Clinton Cards pre-tax profit plunged 41% in the first half of its 2011 financial year.

Pre-tax profit fell to £11.7m in the 26 weeks to January 30, down from £19.8m last year.

Group like-for-likes at the retailer, which operates as Clinton Cards and Birthdays, slipped 2.7% which it put down to low consumer confidence and weak footfall.

Group revenue declined from £222.8m to £206.9m.

The greetings card specialist has closed 39 stores since the first half of 2010.

Like-for-likes sales at Clinton Cards had dipped 2.7% but spend per head was up 1.1% while Birthdays UK like-for-likes slipped 0.4% over the period.

Earlier this month Clinton’s appointed a liquidator to wind up its 14 loss-making Birthdays Ireland stores.

Clinton chairman Don Lewin expects tough trading to continue. Despite an “encouraging start” to Mother’s Day card sales it warned that group like-for-likes are likely to suffer from a low single digit percentage fall in its second half.

Lewin said: “We are mindful of the challenging economical retail conditions we are operating in and anticipate consumer sentiment to remain cautious and trading to remain difficult for the remainder of 2011.”

The retailer is launching a redesigned website in the second half which will offer a full personalisation service. A smart phone app will also be debuted.

Clintons Cards is also investing in a store revamp. Four stores will be redesigned with a new layout, fixtures, colour schemes and improved signage throughout the second half.