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Teen fashion takes another hit: Wet Seal is closing all of its stores

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Another retailer bites the dust. This time, it's Wet Seal.

The teen retailer announced (rather suddenly) on Friday morning that it would be closing all 171 of its stores and laying off all of its workers.

In a Jan. 20 memo obtained by The Wall Street Journal, the apparel retailer notified employees it would be permanently shutting down.

Despite Wet Seal's troubled past, the news came as a surprise to fans.

According to WSJ, the company was forced to close after it failed to secure fresh funding or a new buyer. The struggling brand was acquired for $7.5 million in 2015 by Versa Capital, shortly after it had filed for bankruptcy protection.

Unfortunately for the retail sector, Wet Seal isn't alone. The Limited closed its brick-and-mortar stores this month and American Apparel was sold to a Canadian buyer.

This year has been brutal for retailers. In fact, it's like 2017 is the 2016 for retailers.

Some fans tried to look for the silver lining: Sales.

Wet Seal was known among fans for its can't-pass-up-deals like 5 for $20 t-shirts.

Some shoppers reminisced about their tween years.

Others were surprised it hadn't shuttered earlier.

Wet Seal hit peak popularity in the early aughts, but in the last decade, it has struggled to compete in an over-saturated and evolving market.


As Retail Dive puts it, "Wet Seal's decline hinges on many of the same problems haunting so many teen apparel brands specifically, increasing competition with fast-fashion."

Besides Wet Seal, mall staples Sears and Macy's have also announced store closures, and Walmart announced a round of layoffs just this week.

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