Wet Seal, bastion of shitty club clothes and mall culture, the Forever 21 of our day, may be headed for bankruptcy. If so, we hereby decree that it be buried next to the tomb of Delia's.
Wet Seal used to be the store you hit up for cheap *trendy* styles. But the store's failure to profit in recent years, according to BuzzFeed, is due mostly to confusion about its customer demo and an archaic approach to management.
Much like its clothes after half a night of partying, Wet Seal is falling apart. (ZING.) BuzzFeed reports:
Wet Seal, which was among the hottest teen retailers in the 90s and early 2000s, is the latest chain running out of reasons to exist. It announced in a quarterly filing this month that based on recent losses, "there is substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern." Its stock closed Friday at 5 cents a share, after announcing late Thursday that its executive overseeing stores and operations will resign on Jan. 2. Its lender, Bank of America, has tightened the reins, keeping a close eye on its cash levels.
The problem is that Wet Seal has no idea who even wants to buy Wet Seal. Because, yeah...
...Wet Seal's merchandise is confusingly all over the place — it carries sassy Nasty Gal-type t-shirts, "festival-going" wear you might find at Free People and general fast-fashion basics you'd see at Forever 21, in what seems like a bid to see what sticks.
Adding to that, Wet Seal's past behavior shows the company may have lost additional sales by rejecting some of the young women who did want to wear the chain's clothes.
There's a chance that everyone's overreacting—the article points out that The New York Times reported that Wet Seal was "So Over" in 2004.
But the new executives in place who want to make Wet Seal sexier and "edgy" also have some (SUHprise) serious diversity issues to tackle:
Wet Seal, which brought back its old CEO this past September in a last-ditch turnaround attempt, has been bleeding cash and losing customers in recent years as executives keep changing their mind about who they're selling to. Management has struggled to prove they understand the changing face of the American teen market, a fact highlighted by a troubling lawsuit, settled last year, that alleged the company sought to hire more white retail staff to achieve the "diversity" needed to reach its target market.
What a mess. If you're feeing a little teary eyed about all this , well, go out and buy some of these cool-cool boot cut jeans, why don't ya.
Image via wetseal.com