Fast fashion retailer The Wet Seal is closing 338 stores with immediate effect, leading to the loss of 3,695 full and part-time jobs.

The closures cover about two-thirds of the company’s store roster, accounting for roughly 48% of the retailer’s net sales in the first three quarters of the current financial year.

The Wet Seal said the decision had been made after assessing the company’s overall financial condition and its inability to “successfully negotiate meaningful concessions from its landlords”.

Following the closures, the company will operate from 173 retail stores plus its internet business.

“This was a very difficult decision to make, but after reviewing many other options since I returned to the company in September, our financial condition leaves us no other alternative than to close these stores,” said company CEO Ed Thomas.

The closures will incur US$5.4-6.4m in pre-tax charges, including inventory write-offs, asset impairments and charges related to the job cuts.

In December, The Wet Seal reported a third quarter net loss of $36m, with net sales down 9.2% to $104.3m and comparable store sales falling 14.5%.