CLINTON Cards is set to become the latest casualty on the British and Irish high street after its debt was sold by lenders, including UK government-owned RBS, and subsequently called in, putting thousands of jobs at risk.
Clinton Cards said it had no option but to agree to a proposal by the new owner of the debt, its biggest supplier American Greetings, that it should be placed in administration as it could not repay a £35m (€44m) loan.
The firm, which employs over 8,000 people in the UK, warned on its outlook in March, amid tough trading conditions and intense competition from supermarkets and the internet.
British shoppers' disposable incomes have been squeezed by rising prices, muted wage growth and government austerity measures, hurting less diversified retailers like Clinton Cards, and causing a growing number to fall by the wayside.
Analysts said the expected administration was a surprise, however, as the supplier had enforced the loan. "The supplier has pulled the rug, so it's by no means a usual sequence of events. The question really is why the supplier hasn't been more supportive," independent retail analyst Nick Bubb said.
Mr Bubb added that he expected to see job losses and store closures as a result of the administration.