HANFORD — National clothing store Wet Seal is posed to close its doors for good. The company filed for bankruptcy on Feb. 2.
All 137 stores, including Hanford’s Wet Seal, will be shut down as a part of the chain’s bankruptcy proceedings. The move comes a few years after the chain was forced to close two-thirds of its store locations.
The closure is especially crushing to the Hanford Mall. Forever 21 closed its doors last year.
Local mall-goers are mourning the loss.
“Now I have to go all the way to Fresno. There’s not really any stores left,” customer Jackie Garcia said.
“It’s kind of sad. I like Wet Seal. It’s my favorite store,” shopper Vanessa Cerna said.
Local workers at other stores in the mall are sad about the loss as well.
“It is sad because I used to shop there a lot,” Karina Virrueta, who works at the Cozy Fox, said.
Hanford Chamber of Commerce CEO Mike Bertaina remains optimistic.
“They’ve gotten about 10 new businesses over there [in the mall]. You hate to see these [other stores] leave but you really don’t have any control over the big corporations like Forever 21 or Wet Seal,” he said.
Wet Seal clothing is being marked at 40-60 percent off. Furniture, fixtures and equipment are also for sale.
“Since 1962, Wet Seal has been a pioneer in fast fashion retailing offering trendy apparel designed for teen girls and young women of all sizes. We are offering major discounts on the most popular merchandise so customers have a final opportunity to purchase their favorite items,” a spokesman for Wet Seal said in a press release. “Deep discounts will make for a short sale. Consumers are encouraged to take advantage of this outstanding savings opportunity and to shop while the selection is best.”
Lorne Huycke founded Wet Seal in 1962 in Newport Beach. In 1995, the company purchased Neiman Marcus’ chain of stores, Contempo Casuals. Wet Seal later emerged as a leading store for teens in the early 2000s. Its popularity dipped after it resurfaced as a private company under new ownership.
Wet Seal employees declined to comment on the story.