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Wet Seal's same-store sales rise 10.2 percent in April

The Foothill Ranch-based company says the increase is partly the result of a later Easter holiday.

By Kristen SchottPublished: May 05, 2011 10:25 AM

The Wet Seal experienced a 10.2 percent increase in same-store sales last month, and that factored into the Foothill Ranch-based teen retail chain's decision to revise its first-quarter earnings expectations upward.

Sales at Wet Seal stores open at least a year rose 11.8 percent in the four weeks ending April 30; figures at Arden B jumped a smaller 2.9 percent. The company's net sales rose to $46.1 million in the period, up 18.2 percent over the same time last year.

The late Easter holiday helped make April the strongest month in the first quarter, said Susan McGalla, CEO of The Wet Seal.

For the fiscal first quarter, the company is reporting a preliminary 7 percent uptick in same-store sales, led by an 8.3 percent increase at its flagship shops. Arden B saw a 0.1 percent drop. Net sales totaled $156 million for the period, up 13.3 percent from the same time last year.

The Wet Seal now expects its first-quarter earnings will be 8 cents per share, up from a previous projection of 5 to 7 cents (the company will release its results May 19). The shift upward "reflects stronger merchandise margin and slightly higher sales than previously expected," according to the company.

The Wet Seal operates 536 stores in 47 states and Puerto Rico. A total of 454 of those shops are Wet Seal locations; 82 are Arden B.

“At Wet Seal, our balanced assortment at a compelling value continued to drive sales and merchandise margin results," said McGalla. "We have generated comparable-store sales increases of mid-single-digits or better in five of the last six months in our flagship division. At Arden B, margin performance remains strong, though sales were slightly below expectations for the month and quarter.”

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