Claire’s ‘considers UK store closures’

Frontage of the Claire's Accessories store. On Listergate, Nottingham, England. On 22nd October 2016Image copyright

Accessories chain Claire’s is reported to be considering closing some of its UK stores.

The Press Association said the High Street chain was talking to restructuring firms about “a number of options”.

The chain has more than 370 stores in the UK, according to its most recent accounts.

A spokeswoman for Claire’s said closing underperforming stores was “part of normal business practice”.

According to PA, one rescue plan being considered is a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) where some stores are closed and rents are reduced on remaining stores.

Claire’s chief executive Ron Marshall said it had no plans for either a CVA or major store closures in the UK “in the foreseeable future”.

“Any stores we do close or open in the UK would be as part of our normal course of business,” he added.

  • Was Claire’s the ultimate tween accessory?

Kate Ormrod, an analyst at research firm GlobalData, said it would not be surprising if Claire’s did close stores, saying the move was “long overdue”.

”Claire’s struggles to compete on fashion appeal and product newness when compared to clothing specialists such as Primark and New Look, while its niche shopper base of tweens [8 to 12-year-olds] and young teens also makes it hard to drive footfall and sales given their limited funds,” she added.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Claire’s targets teenagers and tweens

The chain, which offers ear piercing as well as affordable jewellery, is the latest retailer to be hit by the tough High Street conditions that have also sparked the collapse of Maplin and Toys R Us.

House of Fraser fell into administration before being bought by Sports Direct, while stores such as Debenhams, New Look and Homebase have had to close dozens of outlets in an attempt to remain profitable.

The news comes days after Claire’s US parent company emerged from bankruptcy protection. Chapter 11 protection is aimed at giving firms time to restructure their finances.

Mr Marshall said the firm was now “a healthier, more profitable company”.