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Claire’s Stores names CEO

BY Marianne Wilson

Claire’s Stores has appointed a veteran retailer as its chief executive officer.

The teen/tween jewelry and accessories retailer named Ryan Vero as CEO. Vero has served as president of Party City Retail Group since 2016, responsible for overseeing nearly 1,000 retail stores in North America and Europe, as well as e-commerce and Web operations. Previously, he served in leadership roles at Sears Holdings, from 2012 to 2016, and at OfficeMax, from 1994 to 2011, where his last position was executive VP, chief merchandising/marketing officer.

At Claire’s, Vero succeeds Kevin Corning, who served as interim CEO of the chain since March. Corning will support Ryan’s transition and then return to his role on Claire’s board, where he has served since fall 2018.

Claire’s filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 2016, burdened by a heavy debt load and falling mall traffic. It emerged in October 2018, and said it eliminated approximately $1.9 billion of debt from its balance sheet and gained access to $575 million in new capital.

“Claire’s is at a moment of great potential, as the retail industry continues to change rapidly and consumer preferences continue to shift,” Vero said. “I’m looking forward to leveraging these opportunities to ensure the company is well-positioned for growth and that we are doing everything we can to provide our customers with the fun, unique products that they love.”

Claire’s Stores operates stores under two banners names: Claire’s and Icing. As of May 4, 2019, it operated 2,421 stores in 17 countries throughout North America and Europe, excluding 6,794 concession locations. The company franchised 571 stores in 26 countries primarily located in the Middle East, Central and Southeast Asia and Central and South America, Southern Africa, and Russia.

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