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Press release from Business Wire

The Wet Seal, Inc. Announces December Comparable Store Sales Declined 2.1%

<p class='bwalignc'> <b>Updates Fourth Quarter Earnings Guidance to Be at Low End of Initial Range</b> </p>

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The Wet Seal, Inc. Announces December Comparable Store Sales Declined 2.1%04:00 EST Thursday, January 06, 2011 FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif. (Business Wire) -- The Wet Seal, Inc. (Nasdaq: WTSLA), a leading specialty retailer to young women, reported net sales and comparable store sales for the five-week period ended January 1, 2011, or fiscal December, as follows: Fiscal December           Net Sales           Comparable Store Sales% Change $ in Millions       % ChangeFrom Last Year This Year       Last Year Wet Seal $ 66.3       3.3 % -3.7 %       -7.3 % Arden B   13.1       13.4 % 8.5 %       14.1 % Total $ 79.4       4.8 % -2.1 %       -4.6 %   Ed Thomas, interim president and chief executive officer of The Wet Seal, Inc., commented: “December comparable store sales results came in slightly below our expectations, with lower than planned results at Wet Seal partially offset by a strong month at Arden B. At Wet Seal, sales increased significantly in the final few days before Christmas and in the week thereafter, but not enough to offset softer sales in the first few weeks of the month. Led by a very strong dress business, Arden B comparable store sales were slightly positive leading up to Christmas and then further accelerated through the end of the month.” “Momentum continued in our direct business in December, with online sales increasing nearly 26% over the prior year. Our online sales are not a component of our comparable store sales. This increase, along with our larger store base versus the prior year, led to revenue growth exceeding our comparable store sales performance.” Mr. Thomas continued, “In response to an extremely promotional competitive environment throughout the month, we promoted more aggressively than our initial plans, especially at Wet Seal, leading to some pressure on merchandise margin. As a result, while quarter-to-date comparable store sales results remain near the high end of our initial guidance, we now forecast fourth quarter earnings will be at or near the low end of our initial guidance range of $0.03 to $0.05 per diluted share. Our earnings guidance does not include any estimate for potential non-cash long-lived asset impairment charges.” Mr. Thomas concluded, “We are pleased with our inventory positions at both Wet Seal and Arden B as we exit the holiday season and expect them to be well-positioned at fiscal year-end. In accordance with our plan, we expect an increase in Wet Seal inventories per square foot at year-end due to late January receipts ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday, which begins earlier than in the prior year.” About Wet Seal 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 1, 2011, the Company operated a total of 536 stores in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, including 452 Wet Seal stores and 84 Arden B stores. The Company's products can also be purchased online at or For more company information, visit SAFE HARBOR STATEMENT UNDER THE PRIVATE SECURITIES LITIGATION REFORM ACT OF 1995: This news release contains forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the Company's fiscal fourth quarter earnings guidance, its expected inventory position as of fiscal year-end and the intent, belief, plans or expectations of the Company or its management. All forward-looking statements made by the Company involve material risks and uncertainties and are subject to change based on factors beyond the Company's control. Accordingly, the Company's future performance and financial results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in any such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to, those described in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. This news release contains results reflecting partial year data and non-fiscal data that may not be indicative of results for similar future periods or for the full year. The Company will not undertake to publicly update or revise its forward-looking statements even if experience or future changes make it clear that any projected results expressed or implied therein will not be realized. The Wet Seal, Inc.Steven H. Benrubi, (949) 699-3947