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Wet Seal revises third quarter EPS outlook

Nov '08
The Wet Seal Inc reported net sales and comparable store sales for the four-week period ended November 1, 2008, or fiscal October, and the fiscal third quarter ended November 1, 2008, as follows:

Ed Thomas, chief executive officer of The Wet Seal, Inc., commented: “We were very pleased with our October comparable store sales increase in our Wet Seal business. As a retailer providing fashionable, on-trend apparel and accessories at an excellent value, Wet Seal is well-positioned in this economic environment as we enter the important holiday selling season. That said, we continue to manage our inventory levels carefully given the current volatility in the retail environment.”

Mr. Thomas continued, “Business remains challenged at our much smaller retail concept, Arden B. Consistent with practices throughout this year, we continue to rigorously manage Arden B expenses and inventory levels, which led to a major reduction in the operating loss in this division versus the third quarter last year. We have also expanded a price point reduction strategy at Arden B, which will be in effect as we enter the holiday season, to better position the business in this difficult economy.”

Mr. Thomas concluded, “As a result of comparable store sales in line with expectations and disciplined management of all facets of our business, we now expect third quarter earnings per diluted share to be at or near the high end of the guidance we provided in late August of between $0.05 and $0.07. This is a significant improvement over the Company's loss of $0.04 per diluted share in the prior year third quarter."

"We also estimate consolidated inventories at quarter-end were approximately 21% to 22% less per square foot than the prior year third quarter-end, with Wet Seal inventories down between 12% and 13% and Arden B inventories down between 44% and 45%."

"At this time last year, we were in the midst of addressing excess inventories at both divisions, especially at Arden B. In contrast, this year we believe our inventory levels position us very well entering the holiday season.”

Headquartered in Foothill Ranch, California, The Wet Seal, Inc. is a leading specialty retailer of fashionable and contemporary apparel and accessory items. As of November 1, 2008, the Company operated a total of 500 stores in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, including 409 Wet Seal stores and 91 Arden B stores.

Wet Seal Inc

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