Claire's Is Entering A New Chapter In Life: Bankruptcy

Walden Galleria

The retailer and its affiliates filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday and hope to reorganize and reduce its debt load by about $1.9 billion.

"The company's iconic ear piercing services are unmatched and can not be replicated online", the company said. The majority of its store closings will impact mall-based stores.

In court documents reported on by Bloomberg News, Claire's Chief Financial Officer Scott Huckins said Claire's, which began ear-piercing in 1978 as a way to get more of its teens and "tweens" customers into its stores, had "pierced over 100,000,000 million ears worldwide".

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The company pointed to strong earnings minus debt costs and ear piercing services that are not affected by online competition. The company also had too much debt, costing it $183 million a year alone in interest payments, he said.

The move has Claire's following other recent bankruptcies by USA retailers including toy seller Toys "R" Us, athletic gear seller the Sports Authority and kids clothing chain Gymboree.

Claire's has been hit hard by declining traffic to malls since most of its 7,500 stores are located in shopping malls. As of the filing, Apollo owns 98 percent of the company's equity, and around 28 percent of three types of the company's debt, totalling around $48 million, according to court filings.

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Claire's expects to complete reorganization and come out of bankruptcy in September.

This marks yet another in a long ling of mall boutiques and big box stores filing for similar bankruptcy protections in 2018, with Toys R Us being the first retail giant to liquidate this year.

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