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Wet Seal Drowning in Red Ink, Shares Sink

Women's retailer Wet Seal (WTSLA) is drowning in its own red ink -- with shares of the retailer tumbling more than 17% on Friday to $3.04, a day after the company reported a 44% decline in quarterly earnings and said its second-quarter earnings would miss Wall Street's expectation.

In the first quarter, the company earned $5 million, or 5 cents per share, compared with $8.9 million, or 9 cents per share, a year earlier. Analysts expected the company to earn 4 cents.

Sales fell 7% to $132 million from $142.4 million a year earlier, hurt by a difficult retail environment and inventory issues.

While total comparable sales tumbled 7.3%, the company is seeing early signs of a turnaround at its Arden B chain.

Wet Seal forecasts second quarter earnings in the range of 2 cents to 5 cents a share. Analysts expect a profit of 8 cents. The company also predicts same-store sales will slip between 7% and 10%.

Copyright 2009 Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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