Wet Seal Names New President

Ken Seipel will join The Wet Seal Inc., based in Foothill Ranch, Calif., as the retailer’s president and chief operating officer, it was announced March 21.

He will oversee store operations, information technology, real estate, construction, merchandise planning and allocation functions, according to a Wet Seal statement.

Seipel was previously president and chief merchandise/marketing officer for Omaha, Neb.–based Pamida Discount Stores, LLC. He has also worked as executive vice president of stores, operation and store design, for the Old Navy division of Gap Inc.

Wet Seal Chief Executive Susan P. McGalla said, “Ken’s industry expertise and credentials, combined with his operational excellence, are an ideal fit for Wet Seal’s next phase of growth in the teen and young contemporary market.”

Seipel’s hire is part of a changing of the guard at the retailer, which runs a juniors division, Wet Seal and the more contemporary Arden B. division. The company runs a fleet of 450 Wet Seal stores and 83 Arden B stores. McGalla joined the company in January after former CEO Ed Thomas announced his retirement.

One of McGalla’s first major announcements at her new job was to cut down store growth for 2011. Wet Seal planned to open more than 60 stores this year, according to a 2010 announcement. On March 3, the company announced store growth would include 30 new Wet Seal stores and more than four Arden B. stores.—Andrew Asch