Gorman aims to breathe life into 'tired' Birthdays

The new owners of greetings card retailer Birthdays, entrepreneurs Tom Hunter and Chris Gorman, plan to revamp the company's 'tired' format in the New Year.

Hunter and Gorman bought the chain - which has recently delivered a lacklustre performance - from existing shareholders 3i, PPMV and Permira. The price was not disclosed, but is thought to have been between£60 million and£100 million.

Despite its 500 stores, Birthdays has only 7 per cent market share. Arch-rival Clintons has 17 per cent with 700 shops.

Gorman, whose interest was sparked following a cross-selling trial of his Gadgetshop business in 50 Birthdays stores, said Birthdays' format was 'tired' and needed rethinking.

'We're not going to do anything this side of Christmas,' said Gorman, who confirmed that the existing Birthdays management will stay.

'It's fair to say sales were declining, but we know there is a potential to grow this business,' said Gorman. He added that the successful trial of Gadgetshop products would be rolled out to 300 stores next year.

Hunter, who acquired shoe retailer Office recently, said talks were ongoing with suppliers to bring in a range of new products.'Every retailer needs a point of difference, and that's what we want to give Birthdays,' he said.

According to analysts, Birthdays has been caught up in an increasingly competitive market, resulting from the expanding offers of general retailers and specialists.

- Stationery and card retailer Paperchase has announced the opening of four outlets - a store in Canary Wharf's Jubilee Mall and three concessions in Birmingham.