Clintons eyes premium positioning

Clinton Cards is planning to reposition itself as an upmarket, premium gift and card retailer following its acquisition by American Greetings.


It aims to emulate the success of US greetings card chain Papyrus, which sells an upmarket range of cards and gifts in “stylish” stores and is also operated by its new owner.

Tim Fairs, Clintons marketing and ecommerce director, told Marketing Week that the chain’s marketing priority is to modernise the brand’s look and feel and communicate what it stands for to consumers to address the disconnect between what the brand had previously promised and what it actually delivered.

He says: “Clintons will be very different from what you see on the high street now. We need a bold change to make a symbolic change for what Clintons will stand for in the future. The product range and stores will be improved and we’ll make Clintons more upmarket and target a higher demographic rather than a value proposition.”


The group may also trial a number of stores in prime locations under the US group’s Papyrus brand, but Fairs adds that it’s very unlikely that the Clintons brand will disappear from the UK high street.

Fairs adds: “Clintons didn’t evolve with the times, modernise or keep up with the competition on the high street. Now, we will move quickly because the business is in a fragile state. We need to make a radical and significant improvement to the offer and get it communicated out quickly so that we’re in a good position in time for Christmas trading.”

The retailer is likely to launch a marketing push towards the end of the year as it prepares for the Christmas trading period, but it’s new owners are likely to want to see a period of like-for-like growth before investing in external marketing or advertising.

The chain was bought by its supplier American Greetings earlier this months after the chain was forced into administration. It now operates a chain of 400 retail stores, slimmed down from the 750-strong estate the former family-run chain operated.