Claire’s jewelry store planned in local Walmart speaks to trend

Teen accessory chain Claire’s built itself for decades as a mall brand, but now has also been opening stores inside Walmart.

This includes a new store opening soon inside the Walmart in Troy.

County building permits show that Claire’s is planning to open a store inside the Troy Walmart, and a worker at the store said its coming soon.

Claire’s told the Dayton Daily News “we appreciate your interest in our new store, but we are unable to provide information at this time.”

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A Miami County permit said Claire’s shop inside the Walmart will be a small space at just 659 square feet at 1801 W. Main St., Troy, and the permit estimated the renovation construction costs at $25,000.

Claire’s is a go to spot for teen ear-piercing, as well as jewelry and accessories. Since 1961, it grew primarily with mall-based stores, including stores locally still operating at the Dayton Mall, Fairfield Commons, and Miami Valley Centre Mall.

The company had some rocky recent years, declaring bankruptcy, which it emerged from in 2018. Then three years later, in September the company filed an initial public offering.

The future Troy Walmart-based store is part of broader plans for adding about 180 “store-in-store” locations in fiscal year 2021, according to an September SEC filing by Claire’s.

Kelly Gray, vice president with Equity, who has expertise in Dayton area retail, said there are many retailers who are interested in similar arrangements, which outsources some of the work. Walmart already has many of these arrangements, such as restaurants and nail salons that operate in stalls at the front of the building.

“We’re just seeing a lot of retailers who may be looking to outsource a piece of the work,” Gray she said.

Other mall brands are also working on this type of shift. Ulta Beauty has a partnership with Target. Sephora is just opening its first round of stores inside Kohl’s.

“There’s a cobranding trend going on,” said Loren DeFilippo is the Director of Research for Colliers’ Ohio markets.

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During that same time frame, Claire’s expects to add about 35 standalone stores, mostly outside of malls.

This includes a new store coming to Huber Heights, with a county building permit filed Aug. 16, which the city says is for a storefront in the Northpark Shopping Center. The location is where Yankee Candle had closed.

About 1/3 of Claire’s stores in North America were outside of shopping malls as of July 31.

Claire’s wrote in the SEC filing that one of the risks it faces is a decline in the number of people who go to traditional shopping malls, where a majority of their stores are still located.

The retailer stated that sales volume and traffic will likely be harmed by “economic downturns in a particular area, competition from non-shopping mall retailers (including e-commerce businesses) and other shopping malls where we do not have stores and the closing of anchor tenants in a particular shopping mall.”

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