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The 90’s Called and Claire’s is Back

Mall mainstay Claire’s jewelry has seen a recent turnaround, moving to off-mall locations and partnering with large brick-and-mortar chains to display its products.  In today’s Insight Flash, we look at how the company’s DTC business is performing in the US and UK versus the broader subindustry, whether it’s capturing nostalgia Gen Zers or a new audience in the US, and whether its new Walmart partnership is likely to boost sales. 

For its direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales, Claire’s has seen spend growth substantially outperform the broader subindustry in both the US and the UK in the last calendar quarter.  Spend growth was up 8% y/y in the US and 4% in UK, versus being down -2% in both geographies for the broader subindustry.  On a longer term basis of 3-year growth, Claire’s has seen spend growth below the subindustry in the US, 31% for Claire’s versus 36% for the subindustry, although at very high levels.   Meanwhile, the subindustry has seen negative three-year spend growth of -5% in the UK, but Claire’s has outperformed at -1.

DTC Growth versus Subindustry

Note:  Claire’s direct-to-consumer business only

The age skew for Claire’s emphasizes the importance of nostalgia for the chain.  35-44 year olds make up 2.2x as large a share of Claire’s shoppers as they do of our overall panel.  This is the group that would have been hitting the malls in their teens in the 90s when Claire’s was at one of its peaks in popularity.  In contrast, Jewelry Television is seeing a larger makeup of older shoppers aged 65+ and Pandora is the most likely to appeal to the most recent teenagers aged 18-24 years old.

DTC Demographic Exposure

Note:  Each jeweler’s direct-to-consumer business only; calendar 2022Q2

One strategic pillar for Claire’s has been its store-in-store partnerships with some of the highest traffic retailers in the US.  However, not all partnerships are based on brand synergies.  When looking at the percent of each retailer’s customers who have cross-shopped Claire’s DTC outlets versus the percent of the overall panel that have cross-shopped, the strongest synergy seems to be with Walmart, whose customers are more than twice as likely to shop at Claire’s as our overall panel.  CVS also has customers one and a half times as likely to shop Claire’s as the overall panel.  Albertsons banner and DSW shoe customers are actually much less likely to shop Claire’s DTC channels than the overall panel, implying that Claire’s likely isn’t seeing as significant as sales boost at those locations due to a differing shopper base.  Consumer Edge cross-shop data can be a useful tool for assessing the value of future partnerships.

Cross-Shop Claire’s DTC and Retail Partners

Note:  Claire’s direct-to-consumer business only; Albertsons (ex fuel) refers to Albertsons banner only and not other chains owned by ACI; June 2022