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Wet Seal increases fourth quarter EPS guidance
Feb '11
The Wet Seal Inc, a leading specialty retailer to young women, reported net sales and comparable store sales for the four-week period ended January 29, 2011.

Susan McGalla, chief executive officer of The Wet Seal, Inc., commented: "We were pleased with our positive comparable store sales at both Wet Seal and Arden B for January and the fourth quarter, which were above our expectations. In both divisions, the momentum that began in late December continued through January.

"We are also encouraged by our very strong e-commerce sales growth of 41% for the month and 34% for the quarter, as we continue to capitalize on our multi-channel strategy."

The Company ended the year with inventory levels in line with its plans at both divisions. Wet Seal inventory per square foot increased an estimated 8% over the prior year, with much of the increase driven by January receipts this year ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday, which begins earlier than it did last year. At Arden B, inventory per square foot decreased an estimated 8% from the prior year, a planned decline following significant inventory build at the prior year end.

The Company currently estimates fourth quarter earnings before non-cash asset impairments will be $0.04 to $0.05 per diluted share, as compared to its prior guidance of at or near $0.03 per diluted share. The Company's increased guidance reflects higher than expected sales in January and a favorable shrink adjustment after completing year-end physical inventories.

The Company will incur a non-cash asset impairment charge before income taxes of an estimated $0.9 million, or $0.5 million after income taxes, which was not in its prior estimate. Including this charge, the Company estimates fourth quarter earnings will be $0.04 per diluted share.

Headquartered in Foothill Ranch, California, The Wet Seal, Inc. is a leading specialty retailer of fashionable and contemporary apparel and accessory items. As of January 29, 2011, the Company operated a total of 533 stores in 47 states and Puerto Rico, including 450 Wet Seal stores and 83 Arden B stores.

The Wet Seal Inc

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