Clinton Cards yesterday went into administration, threatening 750 stores and 8,000 jobs as the British greeting card retail chain became the latest casualty on the UK high street.
The collapse is the biggest of a retailer since the iconic high street department store Woolworths filed for bankruptcy in November 2008, and comes after the recent failures of video games retailer Game Group and fashion chain Peacocks.
Clinton Cards, which operates 750 stores, yesterday requested the London Stock Exchange to suspend trading of its shares after its banks, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland sold the company's £35 million of loans to its biggest supplier, American Greetings.
"Having secured control of the debt, American Greetings immediately informed the board it intended to enforce the loan against the company,'' Clinton Cards said in a statement.
Zolfo Cooper, the administrator appointed to restructure Clinton Cards, is expected to close nearly half of its stores. Clinton Cards has 628 Clintons and 139 Birthdays stores and employs more 8,000 full and part time staff.
The unexpected move to send the struggling company into administration came after the US card giant American Greetings, took over its bank loans and called them in.