Hal Kahn — the former Macy’s executive who is serving as the very active chairman of Wet Seal Inc. — is doing more than a little multitasking right now.
Kahn said Tuesday that the embattled chain is getting back to its fast-fashion roots. The firm not only logged steep second-quarter losses, but it is contending with activist shareholders, looking for a new chief executive officer, exploring strategic options with an investment bank and has instituted a poison pill.
“The end of the second quarter was the beginning of an important transition period for Wet Seal, as we made the decision to return to our core expertise of fast-fashion merchandising,” Kahn said. “We are returning to merchandising to a broader demographic, including the young teen customer, sourcing a wider variety of product more directly from fast-fashion vendors, committing to merchandise purchases closer to time of need, and focusing our price points on our core customer.”
Kahn said it would take several more months, and another weak quarter, for the changes to take hold.
“This trend will bottom out in the coming months and we will begin to see clear signs of improvement in the fourth quarter,” Kahn said.
The company, which has been pressured to sell by activist investor The Clinton Group, is being run by a board-appointed office of the chairman, which includes Kahn, president and chief operating officer Ken Seipel and chief financial officer Steve Benrubi. The former ceo, Susan McGalla, was ousted last month and Korn/Ferry International has been hired to look for a replacement.
Wet Seal hired Guggenheim Securities and Peter J. Solomon Co. to advise it on its capital needs and strategic options. The chain also put in place a shareholder rights plan, or poison pill, that it said is designed to give the board “sufficient time to consider any proposal and make sure that all stockholders receive fair and equal treatment in the event of any proposed takeover.”
Wet Seal’s losses totaled $12.4 million, or 14 cents a share, in the second quarter and compared with year-ago earnings of $2.2 million, or 2 cents a share. Sales for the three months ended July 28 fell 9.1 percent to $135.3 million from $148.8 million, with an 11.1 percent comparable-store sales drop.
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)