Wet Seal winding down Arden B, closing some stores

Wet Seal winding down Arden B, will close 31 of the brand's stores by the end of fiscal 2015

Associated Press

FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif. (AP) -- Wet Seal is winding down its Arden B retail store business, and will close 31 locations by the end of fiscal 2015.

The company currently has 54 Arden B stores and 478 Wet Seal stores.

The retailer said Friday that 31 Arden B locations will shift to Wet Seal Plus merchandise. The remaining 23 locations will transition from Arden B to regular Wet Seal merchandise. The company anticipates completing the conversion before the back-to-school season in late July.

Stores slated for closing will do so when leases expire, or through early termination provisions. Wet Seal Inc. will close 15 Arden B stores in fiscal 2014 and 16 in fiscal 2015. For the interim period that the stores are open they will offer Wet Seal or Wet Seal Plus merchandise.

"This was a difficult decision that followed a comprehensive review of the business and market dynamics," said CEO John Goodman.

The company anticipates $3 million in charges during the first quarter of fiscal 2014 pertaining to Arden B store assets. It also expects $100,000 in severance charges, and $300,000 in charges for employee retention programs in the second and third quarters.

Arden B made up 11 percent of all consolidated sales for the fiscal year ended Feb. 1.

The Foothill Ranch. Calif. company reaffirmed its forecast for a first-quarter loss of 16 cents to 19 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expect a loss of 18 cents per share.

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