Wet Seal Closing All Stores, Still Hasn’t Filed For Second Bankruptcy

Image courtesy of Phillip Pessar

Two years after its first bankrutpcy, teen clothing retailer Wet Seal was reportedly considering a second one if it couldn’t find investors or a buyer. Instead, the retailer will lay off its 148 headquarters employees and close its 171 remaining stores.

This means, of course, that if you have a Wet Seal gift card, you should rush to the retailer’s website or to the nearest store to you to use it up as soon as you can, on what are sure to be some nice clearance sales if you’re a fan of the brand.

Wet Seal is joining a very sad club, with fellow clothing chains The Limited also closing its stores before filing for bankruptcy, and twice-bankrupt American Apparel starting to shutter stores as well.

“Unfortunately, the company was unable to obtain the necessary capital or identify a strategic partner, and was recently informed that it will receive no further financing for its operations,” the company’s vice president and general counsel wrote to headquarters employees in a letter last week that was leaked to The Wall Street Journal.

Teens and clothing shoppers are simply not visiting malls, and teen-focused clothing stores have been especially hard-hit in this change. Aeropostale is one exception, with a coalition of marketers and mall landlords rescuing the chain out of bankruptcy and re-opening it earlier this year. Wet Seal was hoping for a similar rescue, but it may have to happen after a formal bankruptcy filing, if at all.

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