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Wet Seal Fires CEO

The Foothill Ranch-based clothing retailer fired its CEO amid declining sales.

Amid declining sales, Wet Seal Inc. announced today that its board of directors has ousted Susan McGalla as CEO of the Orange County-based specialty retailer, effective immediately.

It's been a challenging month for the Foothill Ranch-based clothing retailer. The company reported that through the third week of its fiscal month ending July 28, comparable store sales have declined between 13 percent and 14 percent. Earlier this month, the company made headlines .

The board is commencing a search for a new CEO. In the interim, the company has formed an Office of the Chairman, led by Hal Kahn, the company's non-executive chairman of the board.

and Steve Benrubi, its chief financial officer, will be co-principal executive officers and members of the Office of the Chairman until a new CEO has been selected.

The company reported that through the third week of its fiscal month ending July 28, comparable store sales have declined between 13 percent and 14 percent.

For the second fiscal quarter, the company said it expects comparable store sales to decline between 10 percent and 11 percent, which is at the low end of its initial guidance range.

The company currently estimates its second quarter loss -- before non- cash asset impairment and CEO severance costs -- will be between 6 and 7 cents per diluted share, as compared to its initial guidance of a loss between 3 and 6 cents per diluted share.

"The company is evaluating certain Wet Seal and Arden B stores for potential non-cash asset impairments and will also be incurring CEO severance costs during the quarter,'' according to a company statement. ``Asset impairment and CEO severance costs were not included in prior guidance and will increase the loss per diluted share for the quarter.''

Headquartered in Foothill Ranch, Wet Seal specializes in apparel and accessory items for young women. As of June 30, the company operated 470 Wet Seal stores and 83 Arden B stores in 47 states and Puerto Rico. The company's products can also be purchased online.

- City News Service

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