Deb, Wet Seal closing

First Posted: 1/8/2015

LIMA — Teenage girls will have fewer choices when it comes to buying clothing in Lima.

Deb Shops and Wet Seal are both closing their Lima Mall locations. Wet Seal was gone as of Thursday, and Deb is set to start liquidation soon.

“While we never like to see a retailer go, we look forward to the opportunity to bring our guests exciting new shopping options in the coming months,” said Betsy Billingsley, director of marketing and business development at The Lima Mall, in an email statement.

Deb is liquidating 288 stores across the country and Wet Seal is closing 338, a little more than two-thirds of its stores. Wet Seal still intends to keep 173 stores open, as well as its online business, according to a release from the company.

The Deb stores will be open until April, on a “rolling basis,” said a woman at Deb’s corporate office who refused to give her name.

Deb filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Dec. 4, 2014, in Delaware. As for whether the stores will be completely discontinued, the company hasn’t “gotten to that point yet,” she said.

Wet Seal released a statement detailing its decision to close due to its “overall financial condition” and not negotiating concessions from its landlords, according to the statement.

“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,” according to a statement from Wet Seal CEO Ed Thomas.

About 3,695 employees were terminated, and the stores that were closed made up about 48 percent of the company’s net sales for nine months of 2014.

The Wet Seal Inc. was founded in 1962 in California, according to its corporate website, and Deb Shops Inc. was founded in 1973 in Pennsylvania, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State’s website.

Rumors have been circulating that JCPenney will close its Lima store, which is untrue. The company is closing three other Ohio stores, though — Columbus, Greenville and Springfield.

Sears and Kmart have also closed stores in Ohio recently. Kmart closed stores in Fairborn, Marysville and Springfield in December, and Sears closed its store in Solon and Findlay, but none in Lima.

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