Clintons is confident its turnaround strategy is on track half-way through US owner American Greetings’ three-year plan to stabilise the business and improve the store experience.
Clintons has converted 123 of its 400 stores to its new ‘red’ store format since American Greetings bought the retailer out of administration last year.
Clintons marketing and ecommerce director Tim Fairs said the remainder of the stores will be refurbished in the next 18 months.
Clintons introduced the red fascia, replacing its iconic orange branding, in July 2012 featuring improved design and merchandising.
“We’ve been working hard on the customer offer and customer choice and how we present products on the shop floor,” Fairs told Retail Week.
Clintons has also introduced new value promotions in store, such as ‘4 for 3’ offers, while the retailer now offers a card that retails as 69p, which Fairs said would not have happened under the previous management.
Fairs said Clintons has diversified it supply base and has been directly importing its gift ranges from the Far East, which has helped create a more unique offer.
American Greetings had aimed to bring Clintons to profit within two years and achieved the goal in May, although it is yet to disclose the profit figure.
Fairs said: “We’ve got a format and formula that works but it still needs tweaking and we do need to improve and adjust it. But fundamentally the red stores work and they are responding well.”
He added that Clintons wants to further improve its systems and back office functions, after the retailer opened its first distribution centre at its headquarter in Loughton, Essex last year. In the last month, Clintons launched responsive design across its website and it is mulling re-introducing personalised gifts next year.
Fairs believes the retailer has found a premium gap in the market, which it plans to fill when it opens its new high-end fascia planned for early next year.
“It will be different from Clintons and attract a different customer,” said Fairs but he declined to say what category mix it would sell and what brand name it will trade under.