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New UK and Ireland boss to drive Claire’s expansion

Fashion accessories chain Claire’s has appointed Levi’s retail director Sheila Hamilton as managing director of its UK and Republic of Ireland division.

Hamilton had been retail director of jeans brand Levi’s in the UK and Ireland for five years. Previously she was UK managing director of Dutch retailer Mexx for two years and prior to that had held the role of retail director at contemporary womenswear brand Episode.

Hamilton has taken over the role from David Rostron, formerly retail director at footwear retailer Stead & Simpson and head of retail operations at value chain Primark, who joined the business in May last year. Rostron has been promoted to European expansion director.

Rostron originally joined Claire’s when US parent company Claire’s Stores restructured its European division, which is now headed up by European president Kenny Wilson.

Claire’s said the appointment of Hamilton and promotion of Rostron forms part of Claire’s European management team’s expansion

plans. As of January 31, 2009, Claire’s had 464 UK stores. EBITDA during the period was £9.4m, compared with £8.1m the year before, on sales from continuing operations of £144.7m, up from £143.5m the year before.

The rise in EBITDA, which was due to a margin uplift of 3.2% and cost savings from the restructure of the European business, was offset by foreign exchange fluctuations and one-off costs, resulting in a pre-tax loss of £3m, down from a pre-tax profit of £190,000 the year before.

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