LOS ANGELES — Teen specialty retailer Wet Seal Inc. said Jennifer Pritchard, president of the company's Arden B. division since January 2004, has resigned.
Pritchard's departure is likely linked to Arden B.'s sales, said Jeff Van Sinderen, analyst with B. Riley & Co. Inc. "The Arden business...was the golden jewel of the company," he said. "Arden has been running OK, but it may not be as fully developed as a company like Bebe."
Wet Seal, based in Foothill Ranch, Calif., said Pritchard resigned for personal reasons.
Before leading the contemporary unit, Pritchard was chief of Wet Seal's now-defunct Zutopia tween division after joining the company in October 2002. She could not be reached for comment.
Wet Seal on Thursday reported that same-store sales in February increased 29.3 percent versus 16.4 percent for the year-ago period, marking the 14th consecutive month of comp increases.
Analysts said Pritchard was one of the last executives from regimes that oversaw sales declines at Wet Seal that started in 2002, when same-store sales slipped 5.6 percent, compared with an increase of 4.7 percent the previous year.
The decline, which resulted in an all but total turnover of upper management, bottomed out in 2004 when the company lost $47.3 million, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
Wet Seal changed course in the third quarter of fiscal 2005, when the company reported its first positive quarterly operating income since the second quarter of fiscal 2002.
The revival has been credited to chief executive officer Joel Waller, who became the second ceo in less than two years in January 2005, and to turnaround specialist Michael Gold, who was brought on in November 2004.
"A lot of us believed that the turnaround of the company would be spearheaded by the Arden B. division," said Kevin Starke, analyst for Weeden & Co. "There was even some sense that they would shut down all the Wet Seals, but it would seem that, in fact, the operation that turned around the company was Wet Seal."
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews