Apparel retailer Wet Seal Inc has reported a greater third quarter loss amid news that William Langsdorf will step down as chief financial officer.

The California-based company, which posted a loss of $2.5 million in third quarter 2002, has recorded a deficit of $7.53m in this latest period.

Sales also fell six per cent for the quarter to $136.1m, compared to $144.5m in the same period a year earlier.

As a result, the firm is to close 16 Wet Seal and Arden B stores in the fourth quarter, after shutting down five Wet Seal and Contempo outlets in the third quarter.

Langsdorf, meanwhile, will resign in January to focus on family and personal concerns after joining the company in October 2002.