Claire’s store earnings, sales down

Jewelry and accessories retailer Claire’s Stores Inc. on Thursday said fourth-quarter earnings fell from a year ago, as sales were hurt by the U.S. economic slowdown and the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, Reuters reported.

For the quarter ended February 2, net income, which includes an after-tax charge related to the discontinued operations of Lux Corp., was $15.4 million, or 32 cents per diluted share. That compared with $30 million, or 61 cents, a year earlier, Reuters reported.

Claire’s Stores said operating earnings fell to $29.8 million, or 61 cents a share, from $30.4 million, or 62 cents, a year ago. Sales were down 5% to $280.4 million from $295.7 million last year, Reuters reported.

The company expects first-quarter revenue to decrease 2% to approximately $208 million, compared with $213 million a year earlier. Sales at stores open at least a year are projected to be down by 3% to 4%.