Claire’s Stores Inc., the accessories and jewelry retailer, reported an almost 10 percent rise in first-quarter sales and a stronger sales trend at the outset of the second quarter.
In a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based specialty chain said sales for the three months ended May 1 rose 9.9 percent to $322 million from $293 million in the first quarter of 2009 and were up 7.2 percent excluding the positive effect of foreign currency translation.
Comparable-store sales rose 7.6 percent, including an 8.9 percent gain in North America and a 5 percent advance in Europe.
Through the first 11 days of the second quarter, comps ran ahead in the low-single-digit range. Comps are computed in local currencies, eliminating the effect of changes in foreign exchange rates.
Claire’s said it expects first-quarter adjusted EBITDA — earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization and excluding the impact of expenses related to its 2007 acquisition by Apollo Management LP and other nonrecurring items — of between $47 million and $50 million, up from $36 million in the prior-year period. The company didn’t provide projections for EBITDA or net income but did say that it expected to provide full details and hold a conference call to discuss them this month. A call is scheduled for Thursday.
Cash and cash equivalents hit $220 million at the end of the quarter, versus $198.7 million at the end of the previous fiscal year on Jan. 30. The company didn’t disclose the status of its debt, which totaled $2.52 billion at the end of fiscal 2009.
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