NEW YORK — Weighed down by several big ticker charges, Wet Seal Inc. posted a wider loss in the first quarter, but the company said operating income came in higher than expected.

The Foothill Ranch, Calif.-based teen retailer said its loss in the quarter ended April 29 was $13.7 million, or 22 cents a diluted share, which compares to a loss of $8.6 million, or 23 cents, in the prior year on sales that grew 21 percent to $125.1 million from $103.8 million. Excluding debt-related charges of $18.1 million as well as several other charges and gains relating to severance pay, stock compensation and other items, net income was $8 million, or 9 cents a share, while operating income came in at $8.1 million the company said in its statement.

Analysts’ consensus estimate called for earnings per share of 5 cents.

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