Tween retailer Claire's turns to Lazard for debt advice

Key Points
  • Tween accessories retailer Claire's has hired Lazard to help address its roughly $2.2 billion debt load.
  • It is one of many retailers struggling to cope with debt from a private equity-backed buyout.
  • The next maturity on its debt is in March 2019.
Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Tween accessories company Claire's, the go-to destination for ear piercing, has hired investment bank Lazard to help address its roughly $2.2 billion debt load, the company announced on Monday.

"We believe this is the right time to undertake this initiative and we want to assure our vendors, employees and stakeholders that we believe we have ample liquidity to honor our commitments through the completion of this process," said CEO Ron Marshall.

It next faces a maturity on its debt in March 2019.

Reuters first reported Lazard's hiring earlier on Monday.

The retailer, which was bought by private equity firm Apollo Global Management in 2007 in a roughly $3.1 billion deal is, like many of its peers, coping with a steep debt load while also adjusting to the changing retail landscape. It has been further hurt as the malls in which many of its stores are located have lost their luster as a hotbed of teen activity.

Claire's sells its accessories in 4,220 locations in 45 countries and has pierced over 100 million ears.

In December, Claire's reported sales of $315 million for the fiscal third quarter, a 0.8 percent increase from the same quarter a year earlier. Its adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization jumped more than 14 percent to $42.4 million.

As of Oct. 28, 2017, it had cash and cash equivalents of $25.8 million.