Having reached great heights with its trailblazing approach to greeting card retailing, M&P Cards, which traded under the Occasions fascia in many of its 16 card shops, has gone into voluntary administration.
The company, owned by Terry Harvey, managing director, and Jane Chandler, buying director (pictured above outside the former Bradford store), had been trading for almost 11 years when it reached what Terry describes as a “sudden end”. The directors had been exploring ways of saving the business, but these plans were faltered.
Cardzone, owned by Paul Taylor, has taken on eight of the stores thereby safeguarding 50 jobs. These are the shops in Didcot, Warminster, Melksham, Gillingham, Royal Wootton Bassett, Locksheath, Hungerford and Plimstock.
This means that Cardzone is now trading from over 100 stores.
As announced in last month’s PG, M&P closed the large stores that it had opened in shopping malls in Bradford and Newport a couple of months ago, declaring its exploration into opening sites in shopping centres “a dismal failure”.
Saddened by the outcome, Terry told PGBuzz: “Jane and I feel privileged to have worked in the industry. It was our goal to innovate rather than emulate and we were always committed to pushing the boundaries wherever possible; undoubtedly a high risk approach in business.”
He takes comfort in that they leave a legacy of “several truly exceptional stores” that will trade on “in the safe hands” of Cardzone.
“We would like to pass on our thanks and good wishes to all the companies that have travelled this journey with us and provided exceptional support and kindness. It has been an experience…”
Commenting on the addition of the Occasions stores to the Cardzone estate, Paul Taylor, md, said: “Terry and Jane created some good stores. Perhaps their mistake was that they wanted to take on the world.”
Paul says the eight stores will continue to trade under the Occasions fascia for the time being. “They are a very good fit for us, especially as all except one includes a Thorntons franchise. And we are delighted to be able to save the jobs of so many of the staff, including the area manager Paula Whalley”.
This means that over a third of Cardzone stores (35 shops) now include a Thorntons area.