Gordon Brothers Wins Bid for Wet Seal

Wet Seal Holiday 2016
Wet Seal Holiday 2016 (PRNewsFoto/Wet Seal)

The teen retailer finds a new owner with a new vision.

Global advisory firm Gordon Brothers announced that it has acquired Wet Seal in a bankruptcy auction. Reuters reports the winning bid came in at $3 million, twice the initial offer from retailer YM Inc.

The transaction, which is pending court approval, also includes brands under the Wet Seal umbrella, including Adren B, Blink and Chic Boutique.

“Despite the increasing challenges facing teen retailers, we at Gordon Brothers strongly believe in the long-term viability of the category,” said Ramez Toubassy, Gordon Brothers president of brands. “Our plan for Wet Seal is to rebuild and reposition the brand and develop a unique new business model to best position it for future success.”

The company’s web site reads: “Thanks Babe, it’s been real.” The company says it’s “working on a new and improved Wet Seal” and that it’s on a “small (but necessary) break.”

In January, it was reported that the company planned to close all stores, and earlier this month, the chain filed for bankruptcy. This was the second Chapter 11 filing for the company. The first occurred in 2015, resulting in the retailer closing 338 stores and laying off 3,895 employees.

Wet Seal reported 2016 revenue of $144.5 million, according to the Orange County Business Journal.

YM Inc. operates 12 retail brands in Canada, including Suzy, Stitches and Urban Behavior, which offer trendy, budget-friendly fashion.

Gordon Brothers has a reputation for transforming consumer brands and has managed the wind down of Borders and repositioned Sharper Image from a retailer to a licensor.

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