RETAILER Clinton Cards has placed its subsidiary chain of 332 Birthdays stores into administration, putting 2,100 jobs at risk. The company said the Birthdays outlets would continue to trade as normal, including the one in High Street, St Neots, while opti

RETAILER Clinton Cards has placed its subsidiary chain of 332 Birthdays stores into administration, putting 2,100 jobs at risk.

The company said the Birthdays outlets would continue to trade as normal, including the one in High Street, St Neots, while options to secure their future were explored.

Clinton bought the chain in 2004 but said that in the current economic climate it could not sustain Birthdays' £7m-a-year losses.

A statement issued by Clinton Cards Plc on Wednesday (May 20) said: "The board of Clintons announces that it has taken the difficult decision that Clintons can no longer continue to provide funding to its loss making subsidiary Birthdays."

It added: "Given the current economic uncertainty and the structure of the Birthdays' business, the Clintons' Board believes there is little prospect of Birthdays generating a profit in the near future.

"Following deterioration in the wider economy since last autumn, approximately 50 per cent of all Birthdays' stores are now loss making meaning that a solvent restructuring of the business is not considered to represent a viable solution.

"The Clintons' Board therefore believes that placing the business into administration is the right course of action as the funding of the ongoing losses of Birthdays has become unsustainable."

Don Lewin, Clinton Cards chairman, said: "It is with deep regret that we have taken the decision to place the Birthdays' business into administration. Everyone at Birthdays has worked tirelessly to try and turn the business around and I would like to thank everybody for their hard work and dedication over the past five years."

"Although this has been an extremely difficult decision it is my genuine belief that there is significant element of the Birthdays' business that will have a profitable and sustainable future and there are still opportunities to make it a success.

"It is sad that we have reached this position but this action will be earnings enhancing for Clintons and I have every confidence in the future of our business."

All of the Clinton Cards stores are unaffected and will continue to trade as normal.