Wet Seal, Inc. has announced its plans to fire up to 148 employees and close all of its stores in is described in an Employment Development Department WARN report as “closure permanent.” The company operates 171 stores in 42 states and is geared toward teen girls and young adult women of all sizes.
Vice President and General Counsel Michelle Stocke advised employees that the decision came after the company was not able to secure additional capital. She also advised they could not “identify a strategic partner,” and they were advised they would no longer receive financing for their operations.
The company had been struggling for some time as they filed for Chapter 11 in 2015 to try to stay afloat. As more retail stores compete for the teen crowd customer base, it has forced experts to take a look at what these young people really want. Business Insider conducted a teen shopping survey and the results are pretty interesting.
They note Forever 21 is one of the stores frequented by teens and young women in the shopping malls. Listed as one of the favorite shopping mall stores is American Eagle. It is noted that both of these brands include clothing for young men and are quite popular among the 18-25 crowd.
Online shopping has become preferable to young shoppers due to the convenience of not having to go to the store. Retail store sales can therefore go up and down at times. The seasons, the economy, and spending habits are all constantly changing. In addition, there could be other reasons for poor sales when a store is severely struggling.
Wet Seal experienced a damaged reputation after a racial discrimination lawsuit a few years ago. Company executives were accused of denying equal pay and opportunity to black managers, eventually replacing them altogether. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission launched an investigation that lasted three years.
The result was a lawsuit in which Wet Seal, Inc. was ordered to pay out $7.5 million.
The payment may have satisfied the lawsuit, but it did nothing to satisfy the store’s slump in sales due to a bad reputation. Setbacks can happen with a business, whether through internal or external forces. However, Wet Seal apparently failed to bounce back and will therefore close its doors — for good.
What do you think the store could have done to improve its reputation and sales? Let’s discuss here or on Twitter: @lcarterwriter.