LOS ANGELES — The Wet Seal Inc. isn’t taking its troubles lying down.
The struggling junior specialty chain on Wednesday named former Disney Store executive Allan Haims as president of its Wet Seal division. He succeeds Susan O’Toole, who assumes the new position of chief merchandising officer of the division.
The firm also named designer Victor Alfaro senior vice president and creative director of the Wet Seal division. He succeeds Lenny Parrella, who left the company last week for personal reasons.
The moves at the Foothill Ranch, Calif.-based women’s specialty chain represent the first gusts of change at the specialty retailer under the two-month tenure of chief executive officer Peter Whitford, the former president, worldwide, of Disney Store Inc.
“We think the new appointments will help us move forward and rebuild the business quickly,” he said.
At the 490-store flagship division, all Wet Seal store operations will now report directly to Haims rather than the chief administrative officer, “giving us an opportunity to streamline communications,” Whitford said.
Alfaro, who until last year operated his signature women’s line in partnership with Milan-based Gilmar Divisione Industria SpA, will be involved in product design and development. He’ll also lend influence to the stores’ visual presentation and marketing message.
At the company level, Joseph Deckop was tapped for the new post of executive vice president of central planning and allocation. Deckop most recently served as senior vice president of strategic systems and planning at the Disney Store.
Analysts said they’re still digesting the news of the management changes. More changes could be announced todayduring Wet Seal’s second-quarter conference call.
Liz Pierce, retail analyst at Sanders Morris Harris, called O’Toole’s new post a surprise. “I knew things weren’t perfect,” Pierce said. “They’re trying to fit the right people to the right thing and sometimes it’s not right on the first try.”
Pierce said Alfaro’s success will hinge on how he translates his styles to the juniors market. The designer’s influences will first be seen for spring and summer 2004, according to Whitford.Wet Seal’s company July same-store sales fell 12.3 percent, beating analysts’ estimates of a 12.9 percent decline and showing signs of improvement from June’s decline of 21.5 percent and May’s 25 percent slide. First-quarter comps were off 25.5 percent.
Second-quarter net sales dropped 13.8 percent to $126 million from $146.2 million a year earlier.
Wet Seal is hoping that, on a smaller scale, it can duplicate Gap Inc.’s turnaround after several years of sliding sales. Former Disney executive Paul Pressler has rejuvenated results at Gap, enlisting other Disney veterans to do so.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye