Why this Toy Wholesaler is not a fan of Clinton Cards
Clinton Cards have announced a further step in to the red with reported a pre-tax loss of £10.7 million. To compare in 2010 they made a £12 million profit.
Clintons Cards turnover £206m from just over 700 stores and since they employ over 8000 people I certainly would not want them to go bust.
However as a fairtrade wholesaler Clintons Cards represent everything about why we supply the Independent sector
Many, many years ago we were approached by Clintons who wished to stock one of our ranges.
Their terms were 100% sale or return, direct delivery to store, no carriage charge, 90 day payment terms and a substantial price discount. Needless to say the conversation was civil but very brief
Clintons could not understand why if they were waving a very substantial order at us (and it was eye wateringly large for us!) why we did not want to work with them.
The answer is that if you have a well designed, fairly made and well priced range you can sell it to shops who want to work with you as a partnership. We do not make huge profits and if we were to accept Clintons cards we would have needed to double our trade prices just to break even.
If you are able to accept these sort of terms your margin is much bigger than this toy wholesaler makes. Where does your margin come from?
As a customer the only thing Clinton's offers is price. Their shops have no ambience and the majority of their ranges seems to me have been selected because the supplier agreed to their terms rather than gorgeous designs.
Obviously you cannot sell ranges unless you make a profit on them but sometimes the search for high margin ranges overtakes the need to source desirable products
Clintons have a new Chief Exec and as a wholesaler we wish him the very best of luck. If he can keep his eye off high margins and on why customers buy cards and small gifts I am sure that their future could be bright
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