The Next Teen Retail Dream Of The ’90s To Die Could Be Wet Seal

Can doily shorts save Wet Seal?

Can doily shorts save Wet Seal?

Shopping in the 1990s for a teenager was like one big dream filled with flared jeans and funky, chunky shoes. And now it seems that dream is dying, as Wet Seal has been marked as perhaps the next ’90s retailer to follow former cool kid in the mall Delia’s — pardon me! — dELiA*s, into bankruptcy.

Sapna Maheshwari at Buzzfeed News points to Wet Seal’s current graphic-tee offerings and bell bottom jeans as part of Wet Seal’s effort to figure out who it has become and who it’s selling to in a world where the movie Clueless is retro to today’s young consumers. Mall Rats? What’s a mall, anyway?

Wet Seal said in a quarterly filing this month, according to Buzzfeed, that because it’s been bleeding money lately, “there is substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern.”

Late last week it announced that its executive in charge of overseeing Wet Seal locations and operations is resigning Jan. 2, while its lender Bank of America is tightening its grip.

Wet Seal has been trying to get back into the favor of the young consumer since at least September, when it brought back its old CEO. The new team seems positive, despite recent losses, with the CEO saying the company wants to be “sexy” and “edgy” again and thus, is ditching the younger tween targets to aim for 18- to 24-year-olds. Sooo, graphic tees and bell bottoms?

“It sounds like the current management team, which was the old management team, really believes in this sexy, more sophisticated look and believes the customer target got too young and too basic,” Liz Dunn, founder and CEO of retail consulting firm Talmage Advisors, tells BuzzFeed News. “They want to interject more fashion as quickly as they can, and raise the level of sophistication. I just don’t know if they have enough time, and with the stock at 5 cents the market’s kind of goading.”

Wet Seal Could Be The Next ’90s Icon To Die [Buzzfeed News]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.