Claire's Stores names Lafon CEO, exits China

Claire's Stores has named an insider to serve as the new CEO following the resignation of James Fielding, who left after just two years in the top post.

Beatrice Lafon steps into the CEO role, effective immediately. Lafon had been president of Claire's business in Europe.

The Chicago-based jewelry and accessories retailer said Fielding has resigned but gave no further details. The shift comes as the retailer reports lower fourth quarter sales and income.

The privately-held company said it earned $7.4 million for the period that ended Feb. 1, down from net income of $42.2 million in the prior year. Quarterly revenue plunged by 12 percent to $435.5 million. Same store sales fell 10.7 percent for the quarter.

Claire's is paring back operations, closing stores in China, although it is considering selling its branded merchandise in that country through a franchise model, reported the Chicago Tribune.

The company has 3,535 stores globally, of which 421 are franchised.

For more:
-See this Chicago Tribune story
-See this Claire's announcement

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