By Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz
Tribune staff reporter
12:24 PM EDT, June 3, 2014
Linda Filler, president of teen accessories retailer Claire’s North America division, has resigned after 15 months after taking the job and two months after the surprise departure of the CEO who hired her.
Filler, who joined Claire’s in March 2013 from Wal-Mart, resigned effective Monday, the Hoffman Estates-based retailer said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Her resignation comes two months after CEO Jim Fielding resigned from Claire’s, after less than two years with the company, to join teen media company AwesomenessTV as global head of consumer products and retail.
Fielding was replaced by Beatrice Lafon, who had served as president of Claire’s Europe since October 2011.
Claire’s, which has 3,497 stores in 18 countries, has reported lackluster financial performance. It lost $38.1 million in the quarter ended May 3, compared with a loss of $26.5 million for the same period a year earlier. Revenue fell less than 1 percent to $353 million.
Sales for stores open at least a year -- an important gauge of retailer health -- dropped 4.4 percent.
The market was particularly rough in the retailer's 1,881 North American stores, where sales in shops open at least a year dropped 5.5 percent. Its European market did a bit better, with sales dropping 2.4 percent in its 1,187 locations.
Prior to joining Claire’s, Filler had spent six years at Wal-Mart, where she served as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer at Sam’s Club and as executive vice president and general manager of the Wal-Mart Stores Home division. She also was an executive at Kraft Foods and Sara Lee Corp., where she was CEO of the Hanes underwear and sock group, according to a press release from Claire’s at the time of her hiring.
Claire's, which carries $2.4 billion in debt since its 2007 leveraged buyout by private equity firm Apollo Global Management, is considering an initial public offering.
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