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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS | ORANGE COUNTY BRIEFLY

Wet Seal Says Profits Will Beat Forecasts

November 09, 2000|Leslie Earnest

Specialty retailer Wet Seal Inc., after struggling for the past year, said Wednesday it expects fiscal third-quarter earnings to surpass analysts' expectations.

The Foothill Ranch company predicted that earnings for the three months ended Oct. 28 will range from 29 cents to 31 cents a share, up from 22 cents a share a year ago. Analysts had expected the company, which sells young women's apparel, to earn 22 cents a share, according to First Call/Thomson Financial.

Sales for the quarter jumped 10% to almost $144.8 million from almost $131.5 million a year earlier. Sales at stores open at least a year, a key industry indicator, rose 6.8%.

The anticipated earnings include a previously announced charge of $1.65 million, or 8 cents a share, stemming from a severance package the company agreed to pay former President Edmond Thomas when he resigned last month. Without that charge, earnings would have been an estimated 37 cents to 39 cents a share, the company said.

Wet Seal's stock closed at $19.38, down 38 cents. The projected earnings were announced after the market closed.

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