Orange County Business Journal

Wet Seal Beats Wall Street Outlook on November Comparable Sales

Kari Hamanaka Thursday, December 1, 2011

November sales of Foothill Ranch-based teen retailer Wet Seal Inc. fared better than analysts expected even as they slid for the third consecutive month.

Wet Seal operates 472 stores of its namesake chain for teen girls. Another 86 stores operate under the company’s Arden B division for young women.

Companywide sales at stores open at least a year fell 3.1% last month. Wall Street analysts on average expected same-store sales to fall 6.8%.

November same-store sales at Arden B were a drag on companywide performance as Wet Seal executives continue to rework the chain’s fashion and accessories mix. The chain saw same-store sales down 11.2%.

“At Arden B, sales were in line with our expectations and continued to be disappointing outside of strength in our dress, woven bottoms and jewelry businesses,” Chief Executive Susan McGalla said in a statement. “We will continue to carefully manage Arden B inventories as we identify opportunities for improvement.”

The Wet Seal chain saw a 1.8% decline in same-store sales in November.

The company doesn’t report Black Friday sales, but said Wet Seal saw a same-store sales decline in the low single digits for the traditional day-after Thanksgiving kickoff to the holiday selling season.

The chain’s Black Friday performance beat company expectations “as we were comparing against our highly aggressive promotions last year,” McGalla said.