Jan 06, 2015 11:53 AM EST

Wet Seal: Employees Of Closing Wet Seal Stores Protest Against Abrupt Dismissal


Wet Seal - Angry Wet Seal employees, who say they were not given enough time to prepare for the sudden shut down of some of the retailer's outlets, have been protesting against the financially troubled company since the beginning of the week.

Several handwritten signs posted on the walls of Wet Seal outlets across the country by employees gave a hint of some of their grievances.

One sign reportedly posted in a Wet Seal outlet in Seattle accused the company of failing to pay workers for unused vacation and sick time. It also said that the company gave just one day notice to employees to find new jobs and didn't transfer them to its stores that will remain open - despite the fact that some of these workers have been with the company for many years. The sign further accused Wet Seal of increasing the salary of its interim Chief Financial Officer Thomas Hillebrandt by about $95,000 - despite the current financial hardship that it is supposedly facing.

Another sign in Ohio said, "We lie to our employees to hide the fact that YES we're closing and gave no warning. Told us NOT to look for other jobs. Said we were re-modelling and getting in new product. Took away all of our benefits including sick time and vacation which we worked for, and were told we would receive. BTW NO SEVERANCE PAY!"

Wet Seal has not officially addressed these accusations. The company has not even officially revealed that it plans to close down some of its outlets. But this news does not come as a surprise. The California-based retailer has been struggling to maintain its place in the market.

The growth of online shopping and other trendy fashion outlets has dealt a heavy blow to Wet Seal. The company's shared lost nearly 100% of its value last year - amid boardroom wrangling and crippling scandals.

Wet Seal has lost about $150 million in the past two years, according to Bloomberg. The company's quarterly report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last year revealed that Wet Seal had just $19.1 million in cash and cash equivalents. This is compared to about $38.8 million in February 2014.

In the report, Wet Seal had expressed concerns about the effects of its negative cash flow on the relationship with its creditors. Now the company has announced that one of its creditors has given Wet Seal until Jan. 12 to pay up over $27 million.

As it stands, Wet Seal may actually shut down completely. Experts say the #ForgetWetSeal and #BoycottWetSeal protest may just foreshadow the eventual fall of the retailer giant. 

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