Stores in Sarasota, Bradenton join dozens nationwide to stem huge losses
MANATEE -- Teen apparel retailer The Wet Seal is closing its stores in Bradenton and Sarasota along with dozens around the nation to try to stem massive quarterly losses and to fight a massive drop in stock price.
The company's stores in the DeSoto Square Mall in Bradenton and in the Sarasota Square Mall will close this week. Robert Tackett, the mall general manager at DeSoto, said he will pick up the keys on Thursday for the 3,880-square-foot space the national company is leaving behind. Tackett said The Wet Seal leaves behind a prime space in the mall, directly across from Champs Sports and three doors down from the former Macy's space.
The Wet Seal's stock value fell steadily through 2014, plummeting from a high of $2.77 per share one year ago to 6 cents per share today.
According to the NASDAQ, the company's shares hit an all time high of $45.36 in May 1999.
The Wet Seal is expected to close most of its stores in southwest Florida, with only stores in Tyrone Square Mall in St. Petersburg and International Plaza in Tampa remaining open, Tackett said.
As of Nov. 1, the company had 528 stores in operation, according to a Wet Seal press release. The company sustained an operating loss of more than $36 million in the third quarter of 2014, three times the loss it experienced for the same time in 2013.
A company official contacted to confirm the number of Wet Seal stores closing nationwide did not immediately respond to comment.
Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027, or on Twitter@MattAtBradenton.