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Claire's comps continue to improve

CHICAGO -- Teen retailer Claire's Stores provided some hope that discretionary spending is improving by reporting net sales of $421.9 million for the fiscal 2010 fourth quarter, an increase of $11.2 million, or 2.7% compared with the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter.  The company's fourth-quarter comps were particularly strong in its North American market, where they were up 4.7% compared with 1.2% for the same period last year. In the company's European markets, comps were up 0.6% compared with 3.7% in 2009. Consolidated same-store sales for the fourth quarter of 2010 were up 3.2% compared with 2.1% last year. 

Net sales in fiscal 2010 were $1.42 billion, an increase of $84.0 million, or 6.3%, compared with 2009. Consolidated same-store sales increased 6.5% in fiscal 2010.  In North America, same-store sales increased 7.8% in fiscal 2010 while Europe same-store sales increased 4.3%.

Chief Executive Officer Gene Kahn commented, "We are coming off a very strong global performance in 2010 having posted a positive 6.5% same-store sales increase for the year with a positive 7.8% increase in North America and a 4.3% increase in Europe. We are encouraged by the fact that we have had five straight quarters of same-store sales growth. While we benefited to some degree by the stabilization of the broader economy, we were still well positioned at the forefront of our peer group of specialty retailers."

Kahn continued, "In 2011, we will continue to drive organic growth through our merchandise, stores and customer offense.  In addition, we intend to increase our global reach through further new store expansion, on both an owned and franchised basis, and new distribution channels.  We are particularly excited about our upcoming launch of e-commerce in the U.S. this summer and the associated brand enhancement that it will provide."