More work will be needed if Clinton Cards is to have any realistic future.

Two weeks in a row might seem like overkill to write about one retailer, but Clinton Cards will need to do rather more than slash the size of its estate if the name, or indeed the proposition, is to have a future. The lesson of Kwiksave is instructive. The cut-price food retailer closed 5 years ago and seemed to have gone the way of all flesh.

Just over a week ago however is it was back from the dead with a store bearing the Kwiksave name opening in a Bolton suburb. The words here have been chosen with care as the new Kwiksave, the name is now owned by Costcutter, bears little resemblance to what went before.

We all carry pretty strong associations when it comes to a brand and the way that it is given an identity and for Kwiksave it was red with a white font. That’s gone and now, although there are hints of red, the new Kwiksave is about white with black graphics. There’s a lot else that has been done, but what it really amounts to is a complete makeover for the brand and it’s pretty good.

The real point however is that a brand that many might have considered generally toxic has had new life breathed into it and the outcome is a format that might be a going concern.

So what of Clinton Cards? What could and should be done with a retail estate that looks both tired and is now tarred with the brush of relative failure? Fewer and better is one of those maxims that might be applied and losing a logo that speaks of the 1970s would seem, on the face of it, a pretty sound idea.

Then look at the stock. It’s not enough to get shoppers through the doors, they have to like what they see. Perhaps a greater concentration on cards, because that is what the name says this shop is about, and less on interactive kiosks (they never seemed to be being used in the revamped stores that were unveiled in 2011) might be a positive. Equally the number of people entering who wish to buy a ‘plush’ animal (and in some instances there were plush figures attached to cards!) has to be limited.

These are just a couple of thoughts. But if, like Kwiksave, more is to be made of what remains Clinton Cards, it’s about more than taking a scythe to store numbers and then hoping that matters will resolves themselves. They almost certainly won’t.

  • Read about the new Kwiksave in Retail Week this Friday.