Accessories firm Claire's 'discussing closures'
Fashion accessories chain Claire's, which has 14 outlets across Northern Ireland, is understood to be considering a raft of UK store closures as it becomes the latest high street firm to show signs of distress.
The company is believed to be talking to restructuring firms regarding a number of options, one of which is thought to include a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), a controversial insolvency procedure used to shed under-performing sites.
But a spokeswoman said it had "no plans for either a CVA or major store closures... in the foreseeable future" and said that any store closures would be "our normal course of business".
Claire's has more than 350 stores in the UK and dozens of concessions. Hundreds of jobs could be at risk if the chain presses ahead with a CVA. The news comes just days after the chain's US parent company announced that it had emerged from Chapter 11 protection after filing for bankruptcy earlier this year.
Meanwhile, US retail giant Sears has now filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, buckling under its massive debt load and staggering losses. The company began as a mail order catalogue in the 1880s, featuring items from bicycles to houses.