By  on April 11, 2006

LOS ANGELES — The Wet Seal Inc. said on Monday that Gary White has been promoted to chief operating officer.

White joined the junior and contemporary retailer in July 2004 as senior vice president of sales and operations for the Wet Seal division and was subsequently promoted to executive vice president of the company.

He comes to his new position with more than 30 years of experience in the retail industry. White was chief executive officer at Savers Inc. and at Gymboree, and was executive vice president of stores and operations for Mervyns and vice president of West Coast stores for Target.

White will be responsible for all field operations in both the Arden B. and Wet Seal divisions, including construction and development, purchasing and real estate.

Neither White nor Joel Waller, ceo of The Wet Seal, returned phone calls seeking comment. In a prepared statement, Waller said, "Gary has been a major contributor to the recent business success at Wet Seal, and as chief operating officer, he will play a major role in the successful implementation of our store growth strategy in fiscal 2006 and beyond."

The company has had consistent financial increases since the third quarter of fiscal 2005, following a $47.3 million slide in revenue that began in 2002.

Last week, the firm reported same-store sales rose 16.2 percent for the five-week period ended April 1, compared with a gain of 36.3 percent for the same period a year ago. Net sales for the five-week period ended April 1 were $47.3 million, compared with of $41 million for the same period last year, a rise of 15.6 percent.

The Wet Seal is based in Foothill Ranch, Calif., and operates 308 Wet Seal stores and 92 Arden B. stores in 46 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

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