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Press release from Business Wire

The Wet Seal, Inc. Announces April Comparable Store Sales Declined 9.6%

<p class='bwalignc'> <b>Updates First Quarter EPS Guidance to Low End of Range</b> </p>

Thursday, May 03, 2012

The Wet Seal, Inc. Announces April Comparable Store Sales Declined 9.6%07:00 EDT Thursday, May 03, 2012 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 April 28, 2012, or fiscal April, and the fiscal first quarter ended April 28, 2012, as follows: Fiscal April   Comparable Store Sales Net Sales % Change   % Change From $ in Millions Last Year This Year Last Year Wet Seal $ 35.7 -6.5 % -9.1 % 11.8 % Arden B   7.0 -12.5 % -12.1 % 2.9 % Total $ 42.7 -7.6 % -9.6 % 10.2 %   Fiscal First Quarter   Comparable Store Sales Net Sales % Change % Change From $ in Millions Last Year This Year Last Year Wet Seal $126.2 -3.7% -7.0% 8.3% Arden B 21.7 -12.9% -11.4% -0.1% Total $147.9 -5.2% -7.7% 7.0%   Susan McGalla, chief executive officer of The Wet Seal, Inc., commented: “The first quarter ended with April sales within our range of expectations. “At Wet Seal, our dress and shoe categories, as well as denim and overall bottoms, performed well, while tops and jewelry sales declined. In tops, we are continuing to add more fashion and party looks and shifting mix toward stronger trending styles. “At Arden B, the bottoms category performed well, while tops, dresses and accessories declined. We remain focused on building strength in our bottoms category and improving our tops assortment to provide more compelling outfitting solutions for our customer. “E-commerce trends improved versus earlier in the quarter, with a 10% decline in April compared to a 14% increase for the prior year month. For the first quarter, e-commerce sales declined 17% versus growth of 13% in the prior year quarter, as we continue strategic efforts to transition to a higher penetration of full-price selling online and better align merchandising in this channel with our stores. “As of quarter-end, we estimate Wet Seal inventory dollars per square foot increased 5% and Arden B inventory dollars per square foot decreased 2% versus the prior year. We will continue to manage inventories conservatively as we work through challenging sales trends in both businesses.” The Company currently estimates first quarter earnings before non-cash asset impairments will be $0.02 per diluted share, as compared to its prior guidance of $0.02 to $0.04 per diluted share. The Company is evaluating certain Wet Seal and Arden B stores for potential non-cash asset impairments. Asset impairment charges were not included in prior guidance and, if incurred, would reduce earnings per diluted share for the quarter. 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 April 28, 2012, the Company operated a total of 553 stores in 47 states and Puerto Rico, including 469 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, statements that relate to the Company's estimated first 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. Benrubi(949) 699-3947