Claire's UK and Europe businesses appear to be safe, for now
The US Claire’s business may be reportedly preparing for a bankruptcy protection filing but the UK and European operations shouldn’t be affected by the problems at its US parent, the company has said.
There had been particular fears in Britain that the budget accessories retailer’s 378 stores and 128 concessions would be drawn into the battle to survive being waged by the American retailer.
The company, whose stores are largely mall-based, has had to face up to falling visitor traffic at these locations but is also creaking under the weight of the massive $2 billion/£1.4 billion debt load that it acquired when it was bought from the founding family by its private equity owners.
The fears over the UK were exacerbated by other retail failure sin recent periods. In particular, it was though Claire’s could replicate the failure of Toys R Us. That had seen the US firm’s problems radiating out to its international units and resulting in the closure of all of its British stores with the loss of around 3,000 jobs.
But Apollo Management, which controls the company, told City AM that the European business will be unaffected by the bankruptcy filing. And while that kind of assurance doesn’t mean that the business won’t have to face huge challenges ahead, the company has said that it has the resources to operate for at least a year.
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