Wet Seal Inc. would appear to be one of the many retailers to close its doors as of late. Many retailers suffered sales loss this holiday season as online shopping came out on top.
Wet Seal was established in 1962 in Newport Beach and named Lorne’s after its founder Lorne Huycke. The name of the company was later changed when Huycke’s wife saw a model in a black bathing suit and thought it looked like a “wet seal.”
It didn’t take long for the store to expand around the country within the 1980s and the 1990s. It provided young women with casual clothing. Wet Seal later started Limbo Lounge
In a round of many mall retail closing, Wet Seal announced its final notice that it will fire all 148 employees at the headquarters located in Irvine. Along with the firing of its employees, the vice president announced that Wet Seal would shut down all locations as well as get rid of all its employees.
Over the years, however, sales began to plummet. There was even a lawsuit filed on racial bias after the company replaced its African American employees with white ones. Wet Seal settled the lawsuit or $7.5 million in 2013.
Yet it would seem that the shutdown of Wet Seal was inevitable. The company had to close nearly 330 stores in 2015 after suffering a loss of $150 million that year. To save itself, the company laid off 3,700 of its staff and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Wet Seal isn’t the only retailer to close its doors recently. American Apparel and the Limited went through similar struggles. Gildan Activewear bought American Apparel after it suffered through its second bankruptcy. The Limited closed all of it’s stores, recently causing 4,000 employees to lose their jobs.
As consumers start to rely more on online shopping many retail stores and shopping malls continue to suffer. However, stores like Forever 21 and H&M continue to thrive due to their variety of fashion items at a discount price.
Wet Seal has 171 in over 42 states with over 3,000 employees.