With the emergent of new technologies and high demand rates from consumers, most companies are striving into becoming competitive in this busy business environment. Mean while expense minimizing while ensuring customer’s satisfaction has been the key objectives for most of these companies. This work is purposed to give a detailed report on the Claire’s stores Inc. with special focus on the current challenges facing the company while looking at the industry and general environments that affect the company’s operation. The report will also determine some of the core capabilities of the company, the strategies that the company has been using as well as propose some strategies for the company’s future success.
Claire’s Stores Inc (CLEs) is debatably the largest dealer of fashion accessories in the entire world. The company was established in 1961 by R. Schaefer with the name Fashion Tress, Inc. and it mainly specialized in manufacturing of accessories and wigs. In 1973, the company changed its name to FT Industries, Inc. after Schaefer has bought Claire’s Boutiques. By early 1980s, the company took a new direction and started to specialize in retailing women fashion products and later, in 1983, changed its name to Claire’s Stores Inc. with the abbreviation CLE (Wallace & Wallace 2001, p. 52). Starting 1994, the company has went aboard and expanded out into North America with an intent to joint venture with Jusco Co.,. In 1994 November, the company opened its first store in Tokyo and this became the company’s major focus and by 2006, several other stores had been opened in more than 172 localities. Since then, CLE has been establishing and operating several stores globally, while maximizing profits and minimizing expenses. According to LeClaire (2005), the company’s product varieties include necklaces, earrings, bracelets, hair commodities, rings, handbags, small leather products, seasonal and fashion accessories such as headwear, scarves, and eye glasses among other products. In addition to this, Claire’s Stores Inc. also warranty maintenance and home delivery services. Claire’s stores sell their products through an entirely owned area of expertise retail stores and authorized stores.
From 1993, Schaeffer have constantly been buying small fashion accessories business that competed with it. Among them include; Topkapi, L’cessory, Dara Michelle and Icing among others. In 1998, the company obtained unisex teenage attire chain that operated from Lux Corporation under the name Mr. Rags but this did not work out well thus forcing the company to sell it in 2002. In 1999, Claire’s acquired a total of 768 stores from Woolworth and as a result incorporated it into its Icing stores which mainly targeted young women and older teenagers. The mission of the company is to become the most lucrative retailer in selling jewelry and other accessories in an economic environment that is well established, fun and focused for the purpose of achieving its goals. The company has proved to be fast moving in a retail environment where marketing and merchandising practices have reinforced it into the largest control center for both teenager and adult customers (Faqs.org 2010). Claire’s Stores Inc. retains its customers through continuous testing of its products and fast substitution of the products that successfully go through the tests in all its departments.
In the end of 2006, Bonnie and Marla Schaefer, co-CEOs and co-chairwomen of the Claire Stores Inc., faced several challenges while running the company. After the retirement of their father, Bonnie and Marla Schaefer took up the leadership and since then, the company has been facing some ups and downs despite the fact that it is really trying to overcome. Following the fact that the company was still in the leadership of family members and as a result relied heavily on family hands together with the investors of institutional variety, it lacked a succession system that allowed qualified executives. Despite the fact the company had a communal governance quotient, which was considered better than sixty-one percent of its counterpart retailers, management of family business was constantly bothersome during transition (LeClaire, J. 2005). This has been a great challenge for the company since it has to make arrangements on a succession plan that would allow top non-family administrative to move forward.
Another challenge that Claire Stores have been facing is shortage of retail aptitude in the wings. Following the consolidation of vending in 1995, the program for training new executives was cut and executives moved from one company to another (LeClaire, 2005). Given the ambiguity proceeding in the promotion of the Schaefer sisters, the succession scheduling became a concern. These two sisters became so resistant to outsiders and decided that for any one to succeed an executive responsibility in the company; then s/he must learn the business for a period of at least one year. Since the company had been under the leadership of their father, and then by them, they feared that outsiders would lead it inappropriately. The next family members that were expected to succeed them were Marla’s two daughters, and were still teenagers then to have the same experience.
Competition from other companies that trade same products is also another challenge that the Claire Stores Inc. has been struggling to over come. Given that the company operates in an extremely competitive retail business, it competes with local department, national and international stores of which some market similar products. Accessories retailers such as Between and Betwixt have been stocking the same products and have used all possible strategies to go international just like Claire’s. According to Owen (2006), most of these competitors have significantly greater marketing and financial resources and can therefore advertise their products using the most effective means possible. This therefore posses a challenge to Claire’s Stores Inc. since it has to source finances, this would have otherwise been used to purchase more merchandise, into marketing.