Accessories chain Claire’s has hired Levi’s retail director Sheila Hamilton as managing director of its UK and Republic of Ireland division.

Hamilton was retail director of jeans brand Levi’s in the UK and Ireland for five years. Previously she was UK managing director of Dutch retailer Mexx for two years.

Hamilton has taken over the role from David Rostron, formerly retail director at footwear retailer Stead & Simpson and head of retail operations at value chain Primark, who joined the business in May last year. Rostron has moved to become European expansion director.

Rostron originally joined Claire’s when US parent company Claire’s Stores restructured its European division, which is now headed by European president Kenny Wilson.

Claire’s said the appointment of Hamilton and Rostron were part of Claire’s European management team’s expansion plans.

As of January 31, 2009, Claire’s had 464 UK stores. Earnings before tax for the year to that date were £9.4m, compared with £8.1m the year before, on sales from continuing operations of £144.7m, up from £143.5m the year before.

The rise in earnings was offset by foreign exchange fluctuations and one-off costs, resulting in Claire’s recording a pre-tax loss of £3m, down from a pre-tax profit of £190,000 the year before.