Eddie Shepherd, Clintons’ CEO Assures: “It’s Business As Usual” As Specialist Chain Goes Up For Sale

As soon as the news broke on Friday that Clintons had appointed KPMG to ‘explore options’ including a sell-off of the business (https://www.pgbuzz.net/clintons-is-put-up-for-sale/), the industry rumour-monger machine went into overdrive, pontificating on the possible scenarios and outcomes if ‘the likely lads’ of suitors were to swoop in to buy the UK’s second largest specialist card chain which comprises 334 stores.

Eddie Shepherd, who took over as ceo of Clintons in 2017, following the departure of Dominique Schurman, made time to talk to PG Buzz to allay fears and explain the motives of the latest developments, which includes the potential sale of Clintons. Clintons is wholly owned by the Weiss family (former owners of UKG and American Greetings), which acquired the specialist retailer seven years ago, from the administrative receivers to protect the company’s debt and supply chain.

Above: When the Weiss family sold off the majority shareholding in American Greetings (and UKG) in February 2018 to investment company, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, they retained the full ownership of Clintons.
Above: When the Weiss family sold off the majority shareholding in American Greetings (and UKG) in February 2018 to investment company, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, they retained the full ownership of Clintons.

“As part of our long range planning we are considering the wider perspective for the business and our shareholders,” Eddie Shepherd, ceo of Clintons told PG Buzz. “We have no set agenda, but are open to exploring the options.”

All Clintons 2,500 staff and key suppliers have been informed of the situation. “It will be an open and transparent process that we anticipate being concluded in 12-20 weeks. Right now though, we are progressing to make the most of our Christmas trade,” said Eddie.

Above: The bulk of the stores in the Clintons’ estate have been revamped under a new look.
Above: The bulk of the stores in the Clintons’ estate have been revamped under a new look.

When pressed as to whether Clintons would consider going down the ‘trendy’ CVA route, Eddie quipped: “I have never been trendy.”

As Eddie pointed out, the most recent changes in the Clintons business – notably the move out of its historic Loughton HQ which has seen the buying team decamp to above its Loughton store and other functions relocate to within its Corby facility, where its in-house studio is based – has served to build on its aspirations to become a vertically integrated model.

“We’re in good shape – and most of the stores have now been rebranded,” assured Eddie.

When asked, if he had a magic wand, what outcome would he like to see, Eddie’s diplomatic response was: “We just need the right outcome for the business.”

Top: With 334 stores, Clintons is the UK’s second largest specialist card chain.

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