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Wet Seal Offers to Buy 21 Rampage Stores

Retailing: Bid to acquire outlets from bankrupt chain follows similar failed effort to purchase County Seat.


IRVINE — Wet Seal Inc. on Monday said it has offered to acquire 21 stores from Rampage Retailing Inc., a bankrupt apparel chain, for an undisclosed price.

Rampage executives weren't available on Monday to comment on the proposal, but Wet Seal said the purchase must first be approved by Rampage, Wet Seal's board and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge now overseeing the chain's operations.

Wet Seal said that the stores have gross revenue of $50 million, and are located in malls across the country.

Rampage, a privately held company based in Los Angeles with 50 stores, filed for bankruptcy protection in June along with Rampage Clothing Co., a sister company. The filings listed nearly $94 million in debt accumulated during an ambitious expansion drive.

Wet Seal, one of the nation's largest junior women's apparel chains, recently failed in its bid to acquire Dallas-based County Seat, a 500-unit retail chain that's also in bankruptcy.

The Irvine-based junior women's apparel chain, which two years ago acquired the 237-unit Contempo Casuals chain, now operates 364 stores.

Ironically, Rampage had built its own chain in part through the acquisition of Judy's, an apparel chain that entered bankruptcy during the early 1990s.

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