Fiscal First Quarter 2013
E-commerce sales, which are not a component of comparable store sales, increased 4.6% for the period.
"We experienced significant improvement across the business as the quarter progressed," said John D. Goodman, Chief Executive Officer. "After a challenging start in February, primarily due to macro headwinds, we achieved positive low-single digit comp store sales in the combined March-April time-frame and generated positive mid-single digit comp store sales in the final month of the quarter. At the same time, we saw significant improvement in our merchandise margin, which came in approximately flat versus last year's first quarter.
"As of quarter-end, we estimate total inventory dollars per square foot decreased in the mid- to high-single digits versus the prior year at Wet Seal and Arden B, which positions both brands to be able to chase into emerging fashion trends.
"We continue to improve at delivering great product and offering the right blend of regular and promotional pricing, supported by more compelling in-store marketing and merchandise presentation. The customer is responding well and returning to the Wet Seal brand more quickly than anticipated, which has enabled us to stabilize the business and exceed our financial forecasts in the first quarter.
"We are also making progress at Arden B, achieving slightly positive comps for the period. The improvements we've made year-to-date, along with the recent appointment of a new GMM for this division, make us optimistic that we can reinvigorate the Arden B brand."
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