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Claire's to go for European expansion drive in 2010

Accessories retailer Claire’s intends to open significantly more stores during 2010 than this year.

Keny Wilson, the US-based retailer’s European president unveiled plans to maximise the label’s European presence by concentrating on stores openings in Spain and Germany, which he believes are well-placed for expansion.

Noting that Claire’s opened 25 stores in Europe during the last year, Wilson said: “We’re going to open significantly more in the next year.” In order to expedite this, Wilson also plans to beef up the company’s executive base and will be looking for management with “pan-European expertise.”

Currently, Europe, has 953 Claire’s stores, the bulk of which are in the UK and France, against over 2,000 in the US. The European business accounts for close to a third of the retailer’s annual sales. It is owned by private equity firm Apollo Management, which acquired it for $3.1bn in 2007