CEO of Claire’s Stores steps down

Chicago -- Claire’s Stores announced that Eugene S. Kahn has resigned. Kahn has served in the position since the company went private in 2007 in a $3.1 billion takeover by private-equity firm Apollo Management LP.

While the board will conduct a search for internal and external candidates, Claire's Stores President James G. Conroy and Jay Friedman, president of Claire's North American Division, will immediately form an interim office of the CEO.

"We thank Gene for his tireless efforts as CEO," chairman Peter P. Copses said in a statement. "Under Gene's leadership, the Company has improved its merchandising, more clearly defined its target customers, embarked on a new store program in Europe, and launched its e-commerce site. We are fortunate to have a strong and deep team at Claire's, and are confident in Jim and Jay's ability to lead the company as the board conducts a search for a new CEO."

Claire’s also reported a 1.5% increase in consolidated same-store sales for November and December, with a 3.9% increase in North America and a 3% decline in Europe.  The company operates operated 3,047 stores in North America and Europe, and also has franchised or licensed 381 stores in Japan, the Middle East, Turkey, Russia, Greece, Guatemala, Malta, Ukraine and Mexico.