Wet Seal, Inc. will say a long goodbye to its Arden B. brand over the next year or so as it closes its fifty-four mall-based stores and its online operations.
Wet Seal Plus will install its offerings in thirty-one Arden B stores, and Wet Seal will take over the other twenty-three stores, as Arden B fades into the sunset. The store conversions, including new signage, are expected to be completed by late July, in time for the traditional back-to-school sales. Some Arden B locations will stay open during the transitional period and offer Wet Seal apparel, while fifteen sites will be closed in 2014, with sixteen additional closings planned for fiscal 2015.
Personnel reductions and other reduced costs will save the firm about $1.3 million annually, pre-tax. Severance requirements and employee retention programs are expected cost the firm $400,000. Early lease terminations will cost the firm about $500,000.
In a statement to the media, Wet Seal CEO John D. Goodman said, “This was a difficult decision that followed a comprehensive review of the business and market dynamics.We would like to thank all of our Arden B team members for their hard work and dedication to the brand, and also extend our gratitude to our loyal customers.”
Arden B net sales for its fiscal year ending February 1, 2014, were $60.4 million, representing 11 percent of total net sales.
“With this process underway, our management team and Board of Directors will be focusing greater attention on our sweeping strategic initiatives, and this change positions us to take advantage of opportunities for growth within the Wet Seal brand,” said Mr. Goodman.