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Claire's EBITDA halves in Q1

Accessories chain Claire's saw adjusted EBITDA almost halve to $34.3 million ((17.4m) in its first quarter, compared to $60.6m (£30.9m) last year, following a drop in footfall and tough economic conditions.

Same store sales slid 8.4% in the three months to May 3, with net turnover at $327m (£166.6m). Chief executive Gene Kahn said he was "genuinely disappointed" with the results. He said: "The challenging retail environment continues to impact our sales with mall traffic declining, and consumers' discretionary spending being crimped by large price increases in food and gasoline."

He added: "Throughout this quarter, we have made significant progress in improving our organizational model and bolstering our merchandise offence by recruiting people to the business with strong industry, management and leadership experience. We have confidence that our improved team will create momentum and drive improvement in our sales during the second half of the year."

Separately, the chain announced it had appointed Joan Munnelly to the new position of chief merchandising officer, reporting directly to Kahn. She will oversee the strategy and merchandise process worldwide, working with the buying teams in both the US and Europe.

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