Claire’s Accessories is plotting the launch of its transactional website and new format stores as the retailer’s turnaround progresses.
Claire’s Accessories European boss Beatrice Lafon said it will debut its UK ecommerce site next year.
“Online shopping, or more specifically mobile shopping, is a huge opportunity for us,” she said.
Lafon said the growing role of online means that Claire’s does not need as many stores for national coverage.
She said: “For where the market is these days we probably have too wide a reach. With the growth of internet shopping there’s no need to be in every little town.”
The retailer has been trimming its store numbers over the past few years. It now has 451 in the UK and Ireland compared with 465 two years ago. Lafon said there was still room to “contract a little bit”.
The retailer has been trialling new formats to make the most of its vast portfolio. It launched a store focusing on its core offer of jewellery, hair and cosmetics in Brent Cross shopping centre two months ago.
Lafon said: “We had two stores in Brent Cross, both of which were two small for the whole assortment. It seemed like a better way to use the space. It means we can have real authority on the ranges which we’re best known for.”
She said the retailer is eyeing opening more jewellery, hair and cosmetics-only stores.
It is also mulling opening its first concessions.
Turnaround specialist Lafon took the helm in October last year, with Claire’s Accessories suffering five years of sales decline in the UK & Ireland, according to Retail Week Knowledge Bank.
Lafon has increased the fashionability of Claire’s offer, bringing in 115 new lines into stores each week, and has upped its value credentials by lowering prices. Lafon said that prices are now 5% lower than 12 months ago.
Lafon insisted that the retailer is “outperforming the market” and said she is “very confident” in the run-up to Christmas after the accessories group notched up double-digit growth over Halloween.