July 23, 2012, 11:05 AM

The Wet Seal fires its CEO

Susan McGalla started with the apparel retailer in 2011.

Zak Stambor

Managing Editor

Lead Photo

The Wet Seal Inc. today fired its CEO, Susan McGalla.

The move comes amid declining sales for the young women’s apparel retailer, No. 376 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. The Wet Seal says that sales in stores open for at least a year have declined at least 13% in July compared with the same month last year. The retailer operates 553 stores, and also sells products on wetseal.com and ardenb.com. And its comparable store sales have fallen 9.0% in June, 8.8% in May and 9.6% in April. For the second fiscal quarter, which ends at the month, the retailer expects comparable store sales to decline between 10% and 11%.

The retailer  is also battling a federal racial discrimination lawsuit that alleges that the retailer’s executives directed senior managers to fire black store managers for the sake of its brand image. The retailer has denied any and all allegations of race discrimination.

The apparel retailer hired McGalla in February 2011. Previously, she was president and CEO of American Eagle Outfitters Inc., No. 65 in the 2012 edition of the Top 500 Guide. She started work there in 1994, according to her LinkedIn profile.

With McGalla gone, The Wet Seal will rely for leadership on what it calls an Office of the Chairman, led by Hal Kahn, the retailer’s non-executive chairman.  President and chief operating officer Ken Seipel and chief financial officer Steve Benrubi will serve as co-principal executive officers and members of the Office of the Chairman until Wet Seal’s board hires a CEO.



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