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Press release from Business Wire

The Wet Seal, Inc. Announces October Comparable Store Sales Declined 9.7%

<p class='bwalignc'> <b>Reduces Q3 EPS Expectations</b> </p>

Thursday, November 03, 2011

The Wet Seal, Inc. Announces October Comparable Store Sales Declined 9.7%07:00 EDT Thursday, November 03, 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 four-week period ended October 29, 2011, or fiscal October, and the fiscal third quarter ended October 29, 2011, as follows: Fiscal October       Net Sales         Comparable Store Sales% Change $ in Millions       % Change FromLast Year This Year       Last Year Wet Seal $ 34.1       -5.7 % -9.9 %       -0.7 % Arden B   6.4       -1.3 % -8.6 %       -0.9 % Total $ 40.5       -5.0 % -9.7 %       -0.7 %   Fiscal Third Quarter       Net Sales         Comparable Store Sales% Change $ in Millions       % Change FromLast Year This Year       Last Year Wet Seal $ 131.2       4.6 % -0.1 %       0.4 % Arden B   20.9       0.0 % -6.3 %       -2.9 % Total $ 152.1       3.9 % -0.9 %       -0.1 % Susan McGalla, chief executive officer of The Wet Seal, Inc., commented: “October sales were well below expectations at Wet Seal and Arden B. “At Wet Seal, we eliminated Halloween costumes and related merchandise this year to maintain a cohesive fashion assortment better aligned with our brand direction. Halloween merchandise comprised 6% of our October Wet Seal sales last year and, likely, was an incremental traffic driver to our stores. We expanded our fall sportswear assortment to replace the Halloween business, but this trend presentation did not perform to our expectations. “Excluding the Halloween business impact, Wet Seal comparable store sales would have had a mid-single digits decline in October. Having said that, we are also mindful we continue to be up against a highly promotional calendar for ourselves in the prior year November.” Ms. McGalla continued, “At Arden B, while our dress and jewelry businesses were strong, we experienced weakness across other major categories. Until our efforts to drive broader strength in this business take hold, we intend to manage inventories carefully to avoid any excess inventory exposure.” For the fiscal month and quarter, the Company's e-commerce sales declined 24% and 23%, respectively, as the Company continues its strategic efforts to transition to a higher penetration of full-price selling online and better align merchandising in this channel with its stores. Ms. McGalla concluded, “We estimate we ended the quarter with inventory per square foot up 2% to the prior year, with Wet Seal up 2% and Arden B up 1%. We are comfortable with our inventory levels in both divisions as we begin the holiday season.” The Company expects earnings per diluted share for the fiscal third quarter to be $0.04, which is below its prior guidance range of $0.05 to $0.06. The decrease in expectations is primarily due to the effect of the lower than expected October sales. About The Wet Seal, Inc. Headquartered in Foothill Ranch, California, The Wet Seal, Inc. is a leading specialty retailer of fashionable and contemporary apparel and accessory items. As of October 29, 2011, the Company operated a total of 550 stores in 47 states and Puerto Rico, including 464 Wet Seal stores and 86 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, statements that relate to the Company's estimated third quarter earnings per share and inventory levels, as well as 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. Benrubi949-699-3947