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Just In Need Essay

3868 words - 15 pages

The Wet Seal, Inc. HistoryCompany Perspectives:In the business of fashion, as with fashion itself, putting the right combination together is essential. Wet Seal and Contempo Casuals have done just that, and the result is definitely ... us. We're more than just an outfit, we're an inspiration.Key Dates:1962:Wet Seal is established in California as a beachwear retailer.1984:Canadian retail store chain Suzy Shier acquires Wet Seal.1991:The Wet Seal chain comprises 112 stores.1995:Neiman Marcus Group sells its floundering Contempo Casuals chain to Wet Seal.1996:Limbo Lounge, a "unisex" outlet featuring urban clothes for teenaged men and women, is launched.1997:Wet Seal acquires 17 stores and one lease from the Los Angeles-based clothing retailer/manufacturer Rampage.1998:The company acquires stores from Britches Great Outdoors and Mothers Work Inc.; Arden B. chain is launched.2001:The company purchases 18 Zutopia stores from the children's wear retailer Gymboree Corporation.2003:Following years of financially lackluster performance on the part of Wet Seal, CEO Kathy Bronstein is forced out of the company; Peter Whitford takes over as CEO and Allan Haims is named president of the Wet Seal division.2004:Whitford and Haims resign from the company.2005:Joel N. Waller is named CEO.Company History:A nationwide specialty retailer of moderately priced apparel for women, The Wet Seal, Inc. operates three chains under the "Contempo Casuals" and the "Wet Seal" and "Arden B." banners. During the mid-1990s, Wet Seal operated 363 retail stores in 34 states and Puerto Rico, with the majority of the company's stores located in California. After decades of unassuming prosperity, Wet Seal recorded explosive growth during the 1980s but began faltering in the 1990s. To restore profitability, the company acquired a 237-store retail junior women's chain named Contempo Casuals, Inc. in 1995. The acquisition nearly tripled the size of Wet Seal and greatly expanded the company's geographic scope. However, by the early 2000s, Wet Seal was struggling due to various internal and external factors, and in 2005 looked to its new CEO, Joel N. Waller, for a turnaround.OriginsWet Seal was established in late 1962 in California as a beachwear retailer, though its development into the 300-unit retail chain in operation during the mid-1990s occurred only after the company had significantly broadened its beachwear merchandise mix. During the first two decades of its existence, Wet Seal had developed into a $5-million-in-sales, 17-store chain, with all retail units located in California. Size, however, was not the chain's problem. Although Wet Seal's diminutive stature left it lost among the larger apparel retailers in California, its profitability stood out as its most glaring handicap. The company was awash in debt. The sweeping changes that transformed the company into one of the darlings of the California retail apparel industry during the 1980s occurred midway through the decade when...

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