Wet Seal, a clothing retailer aimed at a teenage demographic, announced today that they would be closing 338 of its stores, which results in the layoff 3,695 full and part-time employees. That would leave only about 173 storefronts open. The company, based in Foothill Ranch, California, plans to keep its online business up as well.
The Chief Executive, Ed Thomas, lamented at the condition of the company's finances, stating Wet Seal had no choice but to start shutting down stores. The layoffs resulted in a huge social media backlash, with disgruntled, dismissed employees taking to the internet to vent.
#ForgetWetSeal and #BoycottWetSeal began popping up online and even on signs in storefronts. Some of the signs read, “[They] told us NOT to look for other jobs. Said we were re-modeling and getting in the new product” and “Took away all of our benefits including sick time and vacation which we worked for, and were told we would receive. Btw, NO SEVERANCE PAY!”
Last week, the company had received a default notice on $28 million in loans. The shutdowns began on Monday. Employees claimed that Wet Seal had given only days worth of notice for the layoff. Recently, the company had told employees that stores were not closing, that they did not have to look for new jobs, and that stores would be getting a new spring line soon.
Former employees were particularly disgruntled that they lost all of their benefits, including accrued sick time pay, as a result of the layoff while the Chief Executive was given a $95,000 raise.
Source: LA Times & OC Register
Image Source: Twitter