Orange County Business Journal

Wet Seal Same-Store Sales Down for Holidays

Jerry Sullivan Thursday, January 5, 2012

Foothill Ranch-based retailer Wet Seal Inc. eked out a gain in overall revenue but posted a decline in same-store sales for the holiday season.

The retailer saw $67.7 million in sales at its namesake Wet Seal chain, which targets teens. That came to an overall gain of 2.2% from 2010, with a dip of 2.5% at stores open at least a year.

Its Arden B. chain, which offers fashions for young women, had $11.9 million in sales for the five-week holiday period. That was down 9.7% overall and a drop-off of 10.2% for stores open at least a year.

The combined sales of $79.6 million marked a gain of 0.2% overall compared to 2010, with a decline of 3.7% on a same-store basis.

Wet Seal maintained its earlier outlook on same-store sales and earnings for the fourth quarter, which ends Jan. 28. Same-store sales are expected to show a decrease in the low-single digits. Earnings are expected in a range of three cents to five cents a share.

Chief Executive Susan McGalla said Wet Seal stores offered “less aggressive” discounts and saw sales get off to a slow start but improve over the last two weeks of the holiday sales season.

“Despite a highly promotional competitive environment and commodity cost pressures, we were pleased to generate improved merchandise margin at Wet Seal through this very important month,” she said.

McGalla said the company will “continue to carefully manage Arden B inventories as we identify opportunities for improvement.”

She also said the company is “comfortable with our inventory levels overall as we exit the holiday season."