The owner of Clintons parent company American Greetings has sold a majorty stake in the business to a US investment firm.

American Greetings owner the Weiss family sold the stake to Clayton Dubliner & Rice but will remain directors and shareholders of the company.

The Weiss family will continue to own the UK arm of Clintons and the American Greetings Entertainment Group. 

Clintons said it had “exceeded its targets” in the current financial year and had continued to rationalise its store portfolio, renegotiating more than 40 new leases.

The card specialist’s new boss Eddie Shepherd said: “The Weiss family have been incredibly supportive owners of the business and it is fitting that on the eve of Valentine’s Day they are reaffirming their love for the brand.

“Clintons has gone through a period of positive change in recent years, with a rebranded store portfolio, an optimised network of stores, and significant enhancements to the customer proposition. We look forward to many years of positive performance ahead.”

The business has suffered in recent years as competition such as Card Factory moved into the sector.

American Greetings Retail Cards suffered a pre-tax loss of £19.4m in the year to January 28, 2017, versus a loss of £9.3m the previous year.

Sales slipped to £201.2m from £207.8m and like-for-likes declined 1%. Transactions were down 3.5%, the retailer’s report to Companies House showed.