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Wet Seal Closing 300 Stores, Laying Off 3,700 Workers

Teen retailer struggles against competition from low-priced fashion outlets and from teens who'd rather buy gadgets than clothes.
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/ Source: Associated Press

Struggling teen clothing retailer Wet Seal is closing 338 stores, about two-thirds of its stores, resulting in nearly 3,700 full- and part-time workers losing their jobs.

The retailer said Wednesday it decided to close the stores after reviewing its financial condition and failing to negotiate meaningful concessions from landlords. The closings are effective Wednesday. The company warned Dec. 10 that it may file for bankruptcy protection if it did not resolve its cash issues after reporting another quarter of losses.

Fellow teen clothing retailers Delia's Inc. and Deb Stores filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month, further evidence of business woes among traditional teen retailers. Wet Seal and other chains are being hurt by stores like H&M and Forever 21 that are wooing the young with fast-changing selections of low-priced fashion. Teens are also more interested in outfitting themselves with the latest tech gadgets than new jeans.

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-- The Associated Press