Claire’s sees lower first-quarter earnings

Jewelry and accessories retailer Claire’s Stores Inc. on Monday forecast lower fiscal first-quarter earnings from continuing operations due to slackening sales at its mall-based stores, Reuters reported.

Pembroke Pines, Florida-based Claire’s, which operates some 3,000 boutiques geared toward teenagers, projected earnings of $5.85 million, or 12 cents a share, down from 19 cents a share in the year-earlier period, after the effect of discontinuing Lux Corp. It sees sales of $208 million in the quarter, Reuters reported.

Claire’s said it expects full-year fiscal 2003 earnings to increase to $50.7 million, or $1.04 a share, on sales of $915 million, Reuters reported.

It forecast sales at stores open at least a year will be down 3% to 4% in the first half of 2003, up 1% to 3% in the second half, and up 1% for the full year, Reuters reported.