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Wet Seal revenue gauge falls 5.1 pct in November

FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif. (AP) -- Wet Seal Inc. said Thursday that its revenue at stores open at least a year dropped 5.1 percent, but managed to beat Wall Street predictions.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a 6.8 percent drop. The figure is a key indicator of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

The Foothill Ranch, Calif., teen retailer, said the results were "modestly" ahead of its expectations and estimated that Superstorm Sandy reduced its revenue at stores open at least a year by about 1 percent.

For the four-week period ended Nov. 24, revenue at stores open at least a year fell 5.1 percent at the company's namesake stores, while it dropped 6.9 percent at its Arden B stores.

Total sales fell 4.6 percent to $48.8 million. Sales fell 3.2 percent to $42.4 million at Wet Seal brand stores and 12.8 percent to $6.4 million at Arden B stores.

Wet Seal, which is struggling to turn around its business, said that ongoing merchandise changes helped drive sequential improvements in sales as the month progressed. It added that it has cleared through the bulk of its back-to-school and fall merchandise and expects to clear through the rest by early December.

Its shares finished at $2.91 on Wednesday.