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PET project to drive Claire's sales during second half
Jun '08
Claire's Stores Inc, a leading specialty retailer offering value-priced jewelry and accessories, reported its financial results for the 2008 first quarter ending May 3, 2008. Effective with the current fiscal quarter, the Company has changed its fiscal year naming convention to coincide with the calendar year in which the fiscal year begins. Accordingly, the current fiscal quarter is referred to as the 2008 first quarter and the comparable prior year quarter is referred to the 2007 first quarter.

First Quarter Results:
The Company reported net sales of $327.0 million for the 2008 first quarter, a 4.0% decrease from the 2007 first quarter. The decrease was primarily attributable to a decline in same store sales, partially offset by the growth in our new store base and the effect of foreign currency translation.

Consolidated same store sales declined 8.4% in the 2008 first quarter consisting of a 3.7% increase in average transaction value that was offset by a 12.5% decrease in the average number of transactions. In North America, same store sales decreased 12.3%, with sales at our Claire's stores declining less than at our Icing stores. European same store sales were essentially flat with a decline of 0.2%. We compute same store sales on a local currency basis, which eliminates any impact from changes in foreign exchange rates.

Commenting on first quarter results, Chief Executive Officer Gene Kahn said, “We are genuinely disappointed with our first quarter results. 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.

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