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Claire's Stores, Inc.
Type Private, subsidiary of Apollo Management, LLC
Founded 1961
Founder(s) Rowland Schaefer
Headquarters Hoffman Estates, Illinois, U.S.
Number of locations > 3,000 stores
Area served Worldwide
Key people Gene Kahn, CEO[1]
Industry Retail
Products Accessories, jewelery, and cosmetics
Revenue US$ 1.41 Billion (2008)[1]
Operating income -US$ 446 Million (2008)[1]
Net income -US$ 644 Million (2008)[1]
Employees 17,600 (Jan 2009)

Claire's is a retailer of accessories and jewellery to girls and young women aged 3 to 27. Claire's has over 3,000 locations worldwide: their stores are in 95% of all U.S. shopping malls, and in 27 other countries.[1] Claire's has done more ear piercings than any other retailer, over 80 million in 25+ years.[2]


Store types

Claire's Stores operates under two brands:

The majority of stores are of the Claire's store concept, and it is the only concept that operates outside North America. These stores are aimed principally at teens and tweens, and have a kid's section. They average about 800 sq. feet, are typically located in malls, and carry the widest selection of merchandise among Claire's brands.[3] Claire's merchandise is targeted at different age groups ranging from babies to young adults. Customers can find earrings, necklaces, bracelets, purses, hair accessories, and fashion accessories. Claire's stores are merchandised to accommodate these different ages, and fashion trends are manipulated to appeal to all ages.

The second brand is Icing. These stores are targeted towards young women aged 19–27. The merchandise has a higher price point, and is more mature. Most items are accessories and jewelry, but merchandise also includes items like candles, mineral-based cosmetics, and others. Icing typically does not offer seasonal or licensed merchandise, giving the stores considerably less inventory, creating a less "over-stuffed" feel to customers.[4]

Other variations of these stores exist, such as an Icing store on Halsted St. in Chicago with marble fixtures and a more "boutique" styling.


Claire's sells accessories such as costume jewelry, sterling silver and 14kt gold earrings, hypoallergenic earrings, hair accessories, purses, wallets, belts, socks, tights, legwarmers, sunglasses, and hats. Claire's also sells notebooks and pens, stuffed animals,. The stores offer a wide variety of styles in their products, ranging from punk, gothic, emo, and rock chick to pink, glittery, and flowery items. Claire's merchandise is targeted at the fashion forward teen, tween, and young adult. Claire's merchandise directly mimics higher end style trends.

Claire's also carries an assortment of holiday items. During Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, 4th of July, Halloween, and Christmas customers can find a great selection of holiday themed jewelry, plush, and decorations.

Nearly all Claire's locations also offer free ear piercing with the purchase of piercing studs and ear care antiseptic.

The store carries its own perfume line. Icing also has their own perfume line.


In 1961, Fashion Tress, Inc., the predecessor of present-day Claire's, was established by Rowland Schaefer. Fashion Tress was a manufacturer of wigs and accessories, and went public in over-the-counter trading.

The name was changed to FT Industries, Inc. in 1973, when Schaefer bought the company Claire's Boutiques, Inc., which had operated approximately 60 stores in the Chicago area.

During the early 1980s, Schaefer took the company in a new direction by divesting the manufacturing businesses and focusing the company on specialty retailing of women's fashion accessories.

In 1983, the company name was changed again to the current name, Claire's Stores, Inc. The company was later listed on the NYSE under the symbol CLE.

In 1996, Claire's launched its Icing brand

In 1999, Claire's acquired the 768-store "Afterthoughts" chain from Venator Group, Inc. and converted them to Icing stores.

On May 29, 2007, the company was acquired by private equity firm Apollo Management. Eugene Kahn was appointed CEO.

Since the year 2000, the company has diversified their merchandise. This has become increasingly noticeable in their electronics and bedroom line.[5]

See also


External links

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