The Wet Seal is closing all its 171 stores after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to The Orange County Register.
“Unfortunately, the company was unable to obtain the necessary capital or identify a strategic partner, and was recently informed that it will receive no further financing for its operations,” Vice President and General Counsel Michelle Stocker wrote in a letter to employees.
The teen apparel chain, founded by Lorne Huycke as Lorne's in Newport Beach, Calif., in 1962, was incorporated as Wet Seal in 1990. Huycke's wife reportedly said a model in a bathing suit reminded her of a wet seal a fashion show, and for some reason they decided to change the name to that.
Landlords at top-quality malls will no doubt welcome the chance to backfill the stores. But weaker malls in smaller markets might find themselves with a tough space to refill.