Claire’s Q3 Income Sales Increase

Chicago–Claire’s Stores, Inc. reported Monday that its third quarter income hit $62.5 million up from $53.7 million in the same quarter in 2009.

According to the company’s statement, net sales grew 7.3% to $348.2 million for the quarter ended October 30, an increase of $23.8 million compared to 2009.

“The increase was attributable to an increase in same store sales, new store sales and an increase in shipments to franchisees, partially offset by foreign currency effect of our foreign locations’ sales and closed stores,” Claire’s said, noting that sales would have “increased 9.4% excluding the impact from foreign currency rate changes.”

Same store sales increased 7.5%.  In North America, same store sales increased 9.6% and European same store sales increased 3.9%.

Gene Kahn, ceo, commented, “The third quarter results reflect the continuing improvement in same store sales and EBITDA and are the result of a strong global effort to offer our target customers a fashion right assortment of accessories and jewelry to complement their lifestyle. The six priorities that we put in place for 2010 have been a strong area of focus and are contributing to our success.”

Gross profit percentage increased 100 basis points to 51.9% during the quarter compared to 50.9% during the comparable prior year quarter. The increase consisted of a 180 basis point decrease in occupancy costs, partially offset by an 80 basis point decrease in merchandise margin. The improvement in occupancy rate is due to the leveraging effect of higher sales. The decrease in merchandise margin was primarily due to an increase in markdowns and freight expense.

Claire’s predicted fourth quarter same store sales to hit in the mid-single digits.

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