Like-for-likes climb
Troubled retailer Clinton Cards has revealed that it has made 'significant progress' in recent trading, with like-for-like sales up 1.8 per cent in the past 10 weeks, despite recording a£6.1 million pre-tax loss in its annual report.

The company, which in April said that trading had been 'subdued' in the second half of last year, has changed its financial year from January to July - meaning that the 12 months to July gave a£6.1 million profit.

This was down from a£34.1 million pre-tax profit in its previous 12-month period to January 30, last year. In the 78 weeks to July 30 it posted a£6.1 million pre-tax loss.

Clinton Cards chairman Don Lewin said that like-for-like sales in the 52 weeks to July 30 were down 3 per cent as a result of 'Christmas trading [being] the most challenging for some years'.

However, he added that like-for-like figures at the recently acquired Birthdays chain had increased 3.6 per cent over the same 12-month period. He said: 'The trading environment remains difficult and this makes it harder to predict the future with any degree of certainty.'

Despite the performance from Birthdays - which Clinton bought in December 2004 - Lewin said that it was only 'reasonable' and that it had 'fallen short of our expectations'.

Total revenue for the company as a whole for the 78-week period was£685.7 million against£392.8 million for the 52 weeks to January last year. For the 12 months to July 30 this year revenue was£472.3 million.

Lewin added that the company had continued its process of closing stores, with the total number falling from 1265 to 1145 since January last year.