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popularly priced

Claire's

Claire's is a retail store chain that primarily targets female teenagers and preteens. Claire's has over 3,000 locations worldwide in North America, Europe, Japan, the Middle East, and South Africa.

Claire's sells accessories such as jewelry, make-up, and hair and belt accessories. Claire's also sells notebooks and pens, stuffed animals, Jonas Brothers merchandise, and some clothing. The stores offer a wide variety of styles in their products, ranging from punk, gothic, emo, and rock chick to pink, glittery, girly and flowery items. Nearly all Claire's locations also offer free ear piercing with the purchase of piercing studs and ear care antiseptic.

Claire's has done more ear piercings than any other retailer, over 80 million in 25+ years.

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

During certain holidays, Claire's sells products such as costume jewelry, make-up, and pet clothing. These themed items are sold at holidays including Christmas, Halloween, Valentine's Day, Saint Patrick's Day, and Easter.

The store is divided into four main concepts, or tiers.

The first tier is the Claire's Club store concept, which operates only in North America. This is for girl 0-7, focusing mainly on popularly-priced plastic styled jewelry and accessories. Items are typically more "princess-like" and pink, frilly merchandise to represent the age demographics' like for make-believe, etc. This store concept is relatively unknown, tending to be in larger high-volume malls. These stores are smaller than most Claire's.

The second tier is the Claire's store concept. This is the only concept that operates Internationally. These stores average about 800 sq. feet (Source:Claires.com). They offer the widest variety out of any other store concept. They carry an in-house Claire's Club line, which offers a small selection based upon the Claire's Club store concept, target for girls 0-7. The overall store targets girls 0-17.

The third tier is the Icing by Claire's store concept, which currently only operate in North America. These stores are targeted towards girls 17-27. The merchandise has a higher price point, and offers more mature merchandise including candles, mineral-based cosmetics, and others (Source: icingbyclaires.com) This concept does not offer seasonal or licensed merchandise, giving the stores considerably less inventory, creating a less "over-stuffed" feel to customers.

The fourth, and newest, tier is the Icing Ice store concept, operating only in North America. This is a spin-off of the Icing by Claire's brand. The merchandise at Icing Ice stores has the highest price point out of the company, implying a nice and higher-quality product. There is a small number of Icing Ice's, one of which is Las Vegas.

Other variations of these stores exist, such as an Icing store on Halsted St. in Chicago with marble fixtures and a more "boutique" styling compared to other similar stores. While Claire's purchased the chain "Afterthoughts" in 1999 and converted them into their Icing chain, they left some as Afterthoughts stores, and a number still exist in North America.

History

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 sixty 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 1999, Claire's acquired the chain "Afterthoughts" and converted them into "Icing by Claire's."

On May 29, 2007, the company merged with Apollo Management, LLC. Eugene S. 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 (Source: Claires.com, trends section as of Aug. 25 2008).

Another small, but potentially significant change is Claire's considering themselves as a "specialty retailer," whereas as little as one year ago they considered themselves solely a "accessories retailer." (Source: Claire's recruiting folder). This change of name signifies their further product diversification, as mentioned above.

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