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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS | ORANGE COUNTY BRIEFLY

Wet Seal Eyes More Capital Expenditures

April 10, 2001|Dow Jones

Wet Seal Inc. estimates its capital expenditures will surge to $44 million in the current fiscal year, largely for planned store remodelings and new-store openings, according to a regulatory report.

In fiscal 2000, the Foothill Ranch company had capital expenditures, including leasehold improvements, of about $18.1 million.

The company, which owns and operates a chain of clothing stores targeting young people and specializing in moderately priced casual apparel and accessories, intends to open about 30 new stores in the fiscal year ending Feb. 2.

It opened 36 stores during the previous fiscal year and closed 32 stores.

Wet Seal also said it plans to convert most of its Contempo Casual stores to the Wet Seal name to build a stronger brand presence. The company didn't say how much that would cost.

Wet Seal operated 552 retail stores in 42 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico as of March 15. Of the total, 242 were Contempo Casual stores, Wet Seal said.

The company also intends to convert to a new point-of-sale software program in an effort to enhance customer-service capabilities. The report, which was filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, didn't provide costs of the conversion.

The stock, which has climbed 30% this year, closed Monday at $26.77, off 23 cents a share, in Nasdaq trading.

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