Retailer The Wet Seal brings back a former CEO to shore up shrinking sales

September 5, 2014 03:06 PM

Out with the old, in with the old: The Wet Seal Inc. has a new CEO and perhaps a feeling of déjà vu. Edmond Thomas, who worked as CEO from 2007 to 2011 for the seller of women’s clothes, replaces John D. Goodman, effective immediately. He also gains a seat on the company’s board.

The women’s apparel seller, No. 416 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, announced the change as it also said its preliminary results for the second quarter ended Aug. 2 show an 11.7% drop in net sales, to $121.2 million from $137.2 million. The retail chain expects a Q2 net loss of $22.0 million. Wet Seal did not detail e-commerce sales, but earlier this year reported an 8.6% decline in web sales for 2013 to an Internet Retailer-estimated $31.8 million. Full results are due Sept. 10.

According to data from, the apparel retailer, which launched e-commerce in 1999, had web sales of about $24.0 million in 2009; $31.3 million in 2010; $27.9 million in 2011; and $34.8 million in 2012.

The merchant gave no reason for the departure of Goodman, who also lost his spot on the board of directors. He joined the board in 2012 and became CEO in 2013, with Wet Seal saying that his contract would run until Jan. 30, 2016, according to its announcement at the time. His previous employers include such Top 500 retailers as Gap Inc. (No. 19), Bloomingdale’s (part of Macy’s Inc., No. 8), and Sears Holdings Inc. (No. 5).

Returned CEO Thomas also worked as Wet Seal’s president and chief operating officer from 1992 to 2000, the retailer says. Thomas had recently been working as a partner at private investment firm KarpReilly LLC.

“Ed has served in various leadership roles at the company over nearly two decades, as recently as 2011. In addition to his background at Wet Seal, Ed has extensive experience working with other retail and consumer brands, including their omnichannel initiatives, making him uniquely qualified to lead Wet Seal and generate value for shareholders,” says Adam Rothstein, who on Oct. 1 will replace Lynda Davey as board chair. Wet Seal says Davey has resigned.  




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