Women's apparel retailer The Wet Seal has swung to a first quarter profit of US$7.6m, compared to a net loss of $14.0m for the same period last year, attributed to better control of overhead costs.

In addition same-store sales for this year's quarter increased 2.7% compared to last year, reaching $138.0m.

Wet Seal chief executive officer Joel Waller commented: "I am pleased with the results we achieved in the first quarter. Our efforts to closely manage inventories and increase turns are working. Our financial results this quarter are directly attributable to these efforts and to the successes we had in the tight control of our overhead costs.

The company forecasts a low single digit same-store sales increase for both the current month and second quarter periods. Total net sales between $147m and $152m are seen, versus $130m in the prior year second quarter.

Wet Seal opened 18 new stores during the first quarter and now operates 448 stores, consisting of 356 Wet Seal stores and 92 Arden B stores, selling apparel and accessory items.