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Claire’s licensed bedding a go; Gene Kahn named Claire’s ceo

Pembroke Pines,Fla.– Eugene Kahn, former chairman and ceo of May Department Stores, has joined Claire's Stores as ceo. Claire’s, a 3,000-store retailer of teen and tween fashion accessories, yesterday completed its merger/acquisition by an affiliate of Apollo Management, the firm that also owns Linens ’n Things.

HTT has confirmed that the licensing agreement for Whisper Soft Mills to produce bedding and home décor under the Claire’s Room brand has survived the corporate change of ownership.

Whisper Soft Mills president Vincent DeRosa told HTT, “ We will ship by the end of July into early August” for the back-to-school launch of the Claire’s Room bedding. Retailers carrying the line will be announced before then.

DeRosa said pieced and appliquéd comforter sets are set to retail at $79.99 twin, with 200-thread-count sheet sets at $29.99. In terms of styles, DeRosa said, “We’ve sold five of the cut-and-sew beds, and several of the pajama print group.”

Peter Copses, a senior partner of Apollo, said of the executive appointment, "Gene Kahn is a proven executive in the retail industry whose leadership skills and background as an effective merchant were the ideal combination we were looking for in a ceo for Claire's.”

Claire's has also announced that Mark Smith has rejoined the company as president and managing director of its European Operations. Smith co-founded one of the predecessors to Claire's U.K. business and successfully led the European operations of Claire's from 1996 to 2002.

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