CLAIRE’S CASH-OUT: Claire’s Stores Inc. chief financial officer Ira Kaplan sold his 133,425-share stake in the company last week, according to filings released Friday by the Securities and Exchange Commission. On Monday, Kaplan sold 70,000 shares for $25.08 each and on Tuesday he sold 63,425 shares for $25.07 each for total proceeds of $3.35 million. Reached for comment, Claire’s said Kaplan, who has not sold any of his Claire’s stock in 10 years, maintains 93,000 shares in stock options, and sold his shares in order to pay back a company loan and to diversify his portfolio. Kaplan now owns no shares of the company’s common stock.

FAY’S NEW FACE: The Leslie Fay Co. Inc. has appointed Gwen Gepfert chief financial officer, effective Jan. 1, when current cfo Warren Wishart will step down. Gepfert will serve on the executive committee and will report to chief executive officer W. John Short. Gepfert was most recently cfo for Polo Ralph Lauren’s U.S. wholesale and licensing businesses with responsibility for finance and operations. "Gwen brings to The Leslie Fay Co. Inc. a strong and diverse background in finance, operations and licensing, making her a perfect match and a great addition to the skill set of our management team," said Short in a statement. Prior to joining Polo, Gepfert served as cfo at Kasper ASL Ltd.

BLAIR RINGS IN 75 ON ASE: John Zawacki, ceo of Blair Corp., the direct marketer that produces the Jane Seymour collection, will ring the American Stock Exchange’s opening bell this Thursday along with actress Jane Seymour. The 93-year-old firm is celebrating its 75th anniversary of public trading on the exchange, and it is also marking its first anniversary of Seymour’s apparel line, sold exclusively through its Crossing Pointe catalog and Web site. Blair will donate $75,000 to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, based on money raised online during October’s Awareness month, and will present the check to the foundation just before the opening bell.

SHIP TO SHORE: Ship ’n Shore, one of America’s oldest women’s apparel brands, has signed a licensing agreement with Prestige Global Co. Ltd. and Once Again to launch a moderate sportswear and denim collection for fall 2003. Joel Schwartz, president of SWC Enterprises Inc., licensor and manager of the brand that was founded in 1916, said the new collections will target a consumer 35 and up with updated merchandise designed to fit her budget and figure.

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