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Wet Seal CEO to step down in October

July 28, 2010 | 11:31 am

Teen retail chain Wet Seal Inc. announced late Tuesday that its chief executive and president, Edmond S. Thomas, would step down from both positions on Oct. 8, the scheduled expiration date of his employment agreement.

The Foothill Ranch-based retailer said that if it hadn't identified a successor by that date, Thomas would be willing to serve in a transitional role until a replacement was found.

The company's shares were down 20 cents, or 5.6%, to $3.34 in trading Wednesday. The stock traded as high as $5.15 in April.

"Ed led the Wet Seal during a difficult economic period," said Harold D. Kahn, chairman of the board of directors. "He leaves us with a strong foundation and exceptional balance sheet."

Wet Seal is a specialty retailer of contemporary apparel and accessories for women. As of July 3, the company operated 503 stores in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico under the Wet Seal and Arden B brands.

Like many retailers, the company has struggled during the economic downturn, posting among the worst same-store sales declines in recent months, according to Thomson Reuters. In June, sales at stores open at least a year fell 3.6%.

-- Andrea Chang