This article is about the retailer. For other uses, see Claire (disambiguation).
Claire’s, formerly known as Claire’s Accessories, is an American retailer of accessories and jewelry primarily aimed toward girls and young women. It was founded in 1961 and is based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.
As of October 27, 2012, Claire’s has 3,469 stores in 36 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, 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 95% 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 said, “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.'”
- 1 History
- 1.1 Timeline
- 2 Offices
- 2.1 Illinois office
- 2.2 Florida office
- 3 Store types
- 4 Merchandise
- 5 References
- 6 External links
1961: Founded as Fashion Tress Industries by Rowland Schaefer. It focused on wigs and became the world’s largest retailer of fashion wigs.
1973: Fashion Tress acquired Claire’s, a 25-store jewelry chain, and shifted focus away from wigs to a full line of fashion jewelry and accessories. The new firm was named Claire’s Accessories, Inc.
1978: Claire’s Accessories began providing ear piercing services.
1980: Established a Hong Kong-based sourcing office.
1980s: Claire’s Accessories continues store expansion throughout the United States.
1989: Bought Topkapi, a Japanese chain with 16 stores
1995: Bought Bow Bangles, a British chain with 71 stores in England, Wales, and Scotland.
1996: Bought The Icing, an American chain with 85 stores. It would become the company’s primary brand for women in their 20s.
1996: Bought Accessory Place, an American chain with 31 stores.
1997: Business name changed to Claire’s
1998: Bought Bijoux One, a Swiss chain.
1999: Bought Cleopatre, a privately owned chain based in Paris with 42 stores, for $11 million in cash.
1999: Bought Afterthoughts, whose stores were converted to Icing stores
2001: Launched claires.com
2002: Purchased US-based clothing chain Mr. Rags
2005: Listed in the NASDAQ
2007: Taken private by private equity firm Apollo Global Management in a $3.1 billion leveraged buyout
2008: Consolidated its European operations into one group, headquartered in Birmingham.
2010: Opened its first stores in Ukraine.
2011: Launched e-commerce in the United States and opened its first stores in India and Mexico.
2012: Opened its first stores in China, Italy, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Dominican Republic, Panama, and Honduras
2018: Files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US.
As of 2014 Claire’s has 6 offices:
- Hoffman Estates, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago): Global HQ, North America HQ, North America Distribution Center
- Birmingham: Europe HQ, Europe Distribution Center
- Hong Kong: Sourcing & Buying, International Distribution Center
- Pembroke Pines, Florida (a suburb of Miami): Accounting
- Paris: Field Support
- Madrid: Field Support
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. 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.
Claire’s branch in North Street, Chichester
Claire’s branch in Boulevard Saint Michel, Paris
Glendale, Queens, New York
Stores are aimed principally at teens and tweens and as so have a kids’ section. They average about 1,000 square feet, are typically located in malls, and carry the widest selection of merchandise among Claire’s brands. 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. 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 all the girls and young women that shop there.
In North America, Claire’s also operates under the Icing brand, stores targeted towards young 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, 21st birthday accessories, bachelorette accessories, and footwear. Icing typically does not offer licensed merchandise.
Claire’s sells accessories that are geared towards tweens, teens, and young adults and are meant to imitate higher-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, and clothing items are available for purchase.
The store’s merchandise is often divided into sections. Claire’s Club is a line of accessories meant for children under 7, 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. Although the target customers are girls and young women, as fashion trends have changed, the place has become popular for boys to get their ears pierced as well.
Claire’s carries its own range of perfumes.
FLORIDA OFFICE: Claire’s Stores, Inc. 3 S.W. 129th Avenue Pembroke Pines, FL 33027[…]ILLINOIS OFFICE: Claire’s Stores, Inc. 2400 West Central Road Hoffman Estates, IL 60192”
- Claire’s Stores, Inc. corporate site