Cardland shuts five stores in NI amid ongoing buyout from management
Dozens of jobs at risk as company attempts to save other outlets
CARDLAND has shut five of its Northern Ireland branches ahead of a management buyout which could put dozens of further jobs at risk, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.
The card store, which at one stage had 20 shops here, has shut five locations in the last fortnight.
But its current managing director, Allan Mackinnon, is now part of a senior management team which is in the process of a buyout, and is “working with the current company owner and landlords to keep the remaining 10 stores in Northern Ireland” and one in the Republic open.
“This will ensure that a large number of jobs, between 50 to 60, are saved and also allows for possibly relocating staff from closed stores where possible,” Mr Mackinnon told the Belfast Telegraph.
“I can confirm that a number of Cardland stores throughout Northern Ireland and Scotland have unfortunately closed due to their natural lease expiry or regrettably due to unsustainable business rates and other uncontrollable operational costs affecting small to medium businesses like ourselves. “Of the seven stores that closed, five had come to the natural end of their lease or licence and regrettably new terms could not be reached with the landlords to keep them open any further. Mr Mackinnon added: “We are working hard to ensure that there is a future for Cardland in Northern Ireland and beyond, to ensure we secure the jobs of all the staff that we have worked closely with over the years.” The company has shut seven stores. The five Northern Ireland shops, which have closed in the last fortnight, include Belfast’s Kennedy Centre, the Fairhill shopping centre in Ballymena, Dungannon and two in Newtownards. “On average we have four to five staff per store,” Mr Mackinnon said. “We are hopefully looking to retain at least 12 to 13 stores, to secure 60 jobs. That’s the ultimate goal,” he added. The firm also has four shops in Spain and one in Gibraltar.
It’s understood the business’s former owners sold the company to an acquisition firm last year.
“On the stores that we are wanting to maintain, we are not demanding anything, or rental (reduction),” Mr Mackinnon explained.
“It is the same structure as previous owners.
“A lot of the landlords have been very receptive, so once we get the leases through, and everything is checked out, then the legal process will start. We are hoping everything (can be completed) in the next couple of weeks,” he added.
A number of Cardland stores were closed due to the end of their leases, while others were loss-making. Mr Mackinnon is due to take over ownership of the company alongside his wife, Elaine.
Cardland still operates 10 stores in Northern Ireland. These include shops at Ballymena’s Tower Centre, Coleraine, Ballymoney and Belfast stores such as those in Castle Lane, Park Centre and Castlecourt.