|Formerly||Fashion Tress Industries (1961–1973)|
|Founded||1961(as Fashion Tress Industries)|
Number of locations
|Ryan Vero (CEO)|
|Products||Accessories, jewelry, and cosmetics|
|Revenue||−US$1.403 billion (2015)|
|−US$14.6 million (2015)|
|−US$236.4 million (2015)|
|Owner||Elliott Management Corporation and Monarch Alternative Capital|
Number of employees
Claire's (formerly known as Claire's Boutiques, Claire's Boutique and Claire's Accessories) is an American retailer of accessories, jewelry, and toys primarily aimed toward tween and teen girls. It was founded in 1961 and is based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The company is primarily owned by Elliott Management and Monarch Alternative Capital.
As of October 27, 2012, Claire's has 3,469 stores in 37 countries: 1,947 in North America (United States and Canada); 1,141 in Europe (United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Spain, Ireland, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, and Italy); and 381 franchised and licensed stores elsewhere in the world (Japan, Middle East, India, Mexico, Turkey, Ukraine, Greece, Serbia, Malta, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Venezuela, and Dominican Republic).
Their stores are in 96% of all U.S. shopping malls, and Claire's has done more ear piercings than any other retailer, over 90 million in 25+ years.
In 1996, Leslie Mann of the Chicago Tribune stated:
Although the management of Claire's says the company doesn't advertise and is deliberately low-profile, the name "Claire" is as familiar to female Baby Boomers as "Ringo". To the Boomers' mall-cruising daughters—and, more and more, to their sons—it's right up there with singer Puff Daddy.
In 1961, Rowland Schaefer founded Fashion Tress Industries, a company that sold wigs and became the world's largest retailer for fashion wigs. In 1973, Fashion Tress acquired Claire's, a 25-store jewelry chain, and began shifting its focus towards a line of fashion jewelry and accessories under the new name, Claire's Accessories, Inc. Claire's Accessories began providing ear piercing services in 1978 and, in 1980, established a Hong Kong-based sourcing office. During the 1980s, Claire's Accessories opened new stores throughout the United States and bought Topkapi, a Japanese chain of 16 stores, in 1989. Claire's Accessories continued acquiring companies in the 1990s, including Bow Bangles — a British chain with 71 stores in England, Wales, and Scotland — in 1995; two American chains, The Icing (85 stores) and Accessory Place (31 stores), in 1996; and Bijoux One, a Swiss chain, in 1998. The Icing would become the company's primary brand for women in their 20s. In 1999, Claire's purchased Cleopatre, a chain in Paris with 42 stores, for $11 million cash, as well the American chain, Afterthoughts. Afterthoughts stores were converted to Icing stores after they were purchased. In 1997, the business changed its name to Claire's. In 2001, was launched. In 2002, the company purchased the US-based clothing chain, Mr. Rags.
Claire's was listed on the NASDAQ in 2005, but was taken private by the private equity firm Apollo Global Management in a $3.1 billion leveraged buyout in 2007. In 2008, Claire's consolidated its European operations into one group with headquarters in Birmingham. The first stores in Ukraine were opened in 2010. In 2011, e-commerce operations were launched in the United States, alongside the opening of stores in India and Mexico. In 2012, Claire's expanded its international presence by opening its first stores in China, Italy, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Dominican Republic, Panama, and Honduras.
As of 2014 Claire's has 6 offices:
Claire's has its Illinois offices in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The facility is a brown brick building off of Interstate 90 (Northwest Tollway), near Barrington Road. The building serves as Claire's distribution center and main facility, and all merchandise is routed through this facility. Its products, which, as of 1996, are mainly imported, are distributed and marketed through the Hoffman Estates location. The company's buying, distribution, and marketing divisions are in the Hoffman Estates facility. As of 1996, 236 full-time employees and several temporary employees worked in the facility. Leslie Mann of the Chicago Tribune said that the facility "contrasts with Claire's glittery stores in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom and Japan." Mann added, "Except for the prototype store in the lobby and the fashion accessories that line the walls of the buyers' offices, the center is unremarkable."
A facility in Wood Dale, Illinois, used to serve the purposes now held by the Hoffman Estates office. In early January 1995, Pfizer sold its Hoffman Estates headquarters building for $7.4 million to Claire's so it could consolidate its operations in Memphis, Tennessee. At the time, the Hoffman Estates office had 247,000 square feet (22,900 m2) of space. In 1998, Claire's announced plans to build a two-story office building and a 275,000-square-foot (25,500 m2) warehouse at the Hoffman Estates site. This would double the total amount of space at the Illinois site.
Its Florida office in Pembroke Pines, Florida, in Greater Miami. The Florida offices are west of the intersection of Flamingo Road and Pines Boulevard. It has 26,000 square feet (2,400 m2) of space in its Florida offices. The current CEO for Claire's is Ryan Vero As of 1997 the CEO has his office in Pembroke Pines. In addition, the company's customer service and investor relations divisions are located in the Pembroke Pines offices. In November 1990 Claire's moved its Florida offices from northern Dade County to Pembroke Pines. The former headquarters in Dade County had 10,000 square feet (930 m2) of space.
Stores are aimed at teens and tweens and have a kids' sections. They average about 1,000 square feet, are typically located in malls and shopping centers, and carry the widest selection of merchandise among Claire's brands. Merchandise is targeted at different age groups ranging from babies to teens. Customers can find earrings, necklaces, bracelets, purses, hair accessories, fashion accessories, stuffed animals, makeup, and licensed merchandise. Stores are merchandised to accommodate different ages, and fashion trends are manipulated to appeal to all ages. Toys "R" Us also included a Claire's section for girls and teens.
In North America, Claire's also operates under the Icing brand, stores targeted toward women aged 19–28. 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, birthday accessories, bachelorette and wedding accessories, and footwear. Icing typically does not offer licensed merchandise.
Claire's sells accessories that are geared towards kids, tweens, teens, and young adults and are meant to imitate high-end fashion trends. Costume jewelry, imitation jewelry of precious gems and materials like pearls and diamonds, branded merchandise that advertise tween musicians, body jewelry, hair accessories, make-up and clothing items are usually available for purchases.
The store's merchandise is often divided into sections. Claire's Club is a line of accessories meant for children under 7 years old, featuring princess-themed jewelry and accessories with children's musicians such as Sophia Grace & Rosie. The rest of the store is for tweens and teens.
Claire's also carries an assortment of seasonal holiday items, such as for Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, 4th of July, Halloween, and Christmas.
Nearly all locations also offer ear piercing, as all staff are fully trained in using the Studex gun. Claire's starts piercing customers at the age of two months with their 8-week immunizations and does not pierce the cartilage of people under 13 years of age. Although the target customers are girls and young women, as fashion trends have changed, the place has become popular for young boys to get their ears pierced as well.
Claire's carries its own range of perfumes and jewelry.
Claire's have been subject to numerous cases of alleged "asbestos presence" in its products. These traces have been found in products containing talcum powder, a naturally occurring silicate substance. Talcum powder has been known to contain traces of asbestos, a recognized human carcinogen.
On March 5, 2019, Claire's stated that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) believed some of the company's products may have been contaminated with asbestos. Claire's stated that the FDA had "mis-characterized fibers in the products as asbestos, in direct contradiction to established EPA and USP criterion for classifying asbestos fibers".
On March 11, 2019, the FDA tested more Claire's products, indicating "the possible presence of asbestos". The effected products was sold between October 2016 to March 2019. In response to the FDA claim, Claire's stated they continue to have confidence in the safety of their products, however also issued a voluntary recall and advised consumers to discontinue use.
On May 30, 2019, a JoJo Siwa cosmetic kit was voluntarily recalled due to the FDA warning consumers of "the possible presence of asbestos". The powder eyeshadow element of the kit was affected due to the possible presence of "trace amounts of asbestos fibers". Claire's stated these trace amounts were acceptable by European and Canadian cosmetic regulations, and they had ended the use of talc powder in its products. The company still "continues to have confidence in the safety and composition of its products" and "is not aware of any adverse reactions, injuries or illness caused by the possible presence of asbestos in the recalled products". Siwa posted a video informing her audience Claire's would accept refunds of products new and used, stating she puts her "trust into other people's hands" with her products and was working to recall items from all shelves.