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Wet Seal Ventures Into Junior Plus Size Market

Since exiting its Arden B business in April, junior retailer Wet Seal Inc. announced during a conference call last week that it plans to focus on establishing its own presence in the Junior Plus category. It also plans to close 48 stores.

The company’s plus size initiative is part of its overall turnaround plan to recapture the junior market. Newly named Wet Seal CEO Ed Thomas said that in the past the store’s “customer base has skewed too young” and that the merchandising mix offered too many basics.

Wet Seal’s Junior Plus category was launched first on and subsequently in 36 Wet Seal Stores. The first Wet Seal Plus stores opened in August to positive customer response. In acknowledgement of the category’s initial success, the company announced that it will grow Wet Seal Plus into its own expanded online assortment and plan new store openings over the next several years.

The company is also developing its own means of engaging with its plus size demographic via social media. Taking note that social media engagement is stronger among plus-size segments of key Wet Seal demographics, the company will begin to cultivate a campaign tailored specifically to the needs of the plus-size customer.

Former CEO John Goodman, who left the company on Aug. 26, said, “The bloggers that we’ve worked with on Junior Plus have been phenomenal and just really partnering with them and building this wealth of information around this woman or this girl and how do we maximize it going forward is critical.”