The Wet Seal Inc announced that the Company has implemented staff reductions affecting 41 employees. Thirty-seven positions were eliminated in the Company's corporate office and four were eliminated in operations management outside of the corporate office.
The staff reductions are expected to result in annualized pre-tax savings of approximately $3.3 million beginning in fiscal 2009. The Company expects to incur a charge of between $200,000 and $300,000 in its fiscal 2008 fourth quarter related to elimination of these positions. Affected employees were provided with severance packages.
Ed Thomas, chief executive officer, commented: "Throughout 2008, we focused on and implemented many initiatives to ensure we operate as efficiently as possible in this increasingly difficult retail environment. In the course of these efforts, we have identified an opportunity to eliminate certain operations management and corporate positions without disrupting our business or impacting our execution capabilities. We regret the need to take these actions, and we appreciate all of the contributions made by the affected employees in their time with the Company.
"We will continue to manage our business conservatively as we begin what we expect to be a very challenging new fiscal year in the retail sector. We have a strong organization that is capable of continuing to manage through these difficult times and that is well-positioned to support our long-term growth thereafter."
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 3, 2009, the Company operated a total of 503 stores in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, including 412 Wet Seal stores and 91 Arden B stores.