• Q4 net loss of US$27.5m versus $85.8m 
  • Sales declines 22.8% to $124.8m 
  • Comparable store sales falls 16.5%

Specialty apparel retailer The Wet Seal has narrowed its loss during the fourth quarter, after lower expenses offset a double-digit decline in sales.

Selling, general and administrative expenses fell 25.8% to $42.7m during the 13 weeks to 1 February, while asset-impairment charges edged down 0.1% to $8m.

Meanwhile, net sales at Wet Seal and Arden B declined a respective 14% and 43%.

"Although we concluded fiscal 2013 with a difficult fourth quarter, we made substantial progress during the year against our turnaround strategies, which provides a strong foundation for the business," said company CEO John Goodman.

"In light of the difficulties we faced, and which continue to impact us in the first quarter, we are taking action to respond to ongoing macro pressures and the changing retail environment.

The retailer said it expects to report a net loss of $0.16-0.19 for the first quarter of fiscal 2014, assuming anticipated comparable store sales, which includes e-commerce, in the negative mid- to high-teens.

Separately, Wet Seal has entered into an agreement to raise as much as $27m in a private placement as part of its strategic plan to drive e-commerce growth, transform its real estate portfolio and pursue opportunity in the plus-size market.