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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS | ORANGE COUNTY EARNINGS

Wet Seal Dresses Up 3rd Quarter With 48% Profit Increase

Apparel: The Foothill Ranch retailer reports earning 31 cents a share and will open about 30 stores.

November 16, 2000

Apparel retailer Wet Seal Inc. reported a fiscal third-quarter profit of $4 million, or 31 cents a share, 48% higher than the $2.7 million, or 22 cents a share, for last year's third quarter.

The earnings came in a penny above analysts' estimates of 30 cents a share, according to a survey by First Call/Thomson Financial.

Sales for the quarter ended Oct. 28 climbed 10% to $144.9 million. Wet Seal said sales at stores open for more than a year rose nearly 7%.

The Foothill Ranch company said it will open about 30 stores in its next fiscal year but also will close as many as 20 stores. Most of the openings are planned for the last six months of 2001, the company said. So far this year, Wet Seal has opened 34 stores and closed 14. It plans to open two more and close 14 more by the end of its fourth quarter.

The company's stock hit a 52-week high of $24.13 Wednesday before closing at $23.81, up $1.38 a share, in Nasdaq trading.

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