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Can Christine Lee fix what ails Wet Seal?

The Wet Seal named Christine Lee EVP and chief merchandising officer, as the retailer of young women’s apparel looks to regain its appeal with core shoppers and reverse several quarters’ worth of double-digit same-store sales declines.

Lee will join Wet Seal on September 3 and in her new role report to company CEO John Goodman. Lee previously served as SVP and general merchandise manager at Pacific Sunwear since 2010. Prior to Pac-Sun, she spent 18 years with Urban Outfitters where she began her career as a sales associate.

“Christine’s track record as a successful merchant and extensive experience in specialty retail and junior fashion will be a tremendous asset to Wet Seal,” Goodman said. “She is an outstanding merchant who also possesses exceptional analytical and leadership skills. We look forward to the creativity she will bring to the Wet Seal brand as we navigate the changing retail landscape and execute our growth strategies.”

There hasn’t been a lot of growth of late at Wet Seal, which operates more than 500 stores nationwide. Same-store sales began to deteriorate in 2013 and were capped by a 16.5% decline in the fourth quarter. The first quarter of 2014 was slightly worse with comps down 16.9%. Things don’t look quite as bad for the second quarter with the company forecasting a comp decline between 8% and 11%.

“Wet Seal’s strong roots in junior fast fashion and dynamic leadership make this a compelling opportunity,” Lee said. “I am excited to work with the executive and merchandising teams and believe there is a powerful runway to drive growth and enhance Wet Seal’s brand positioning.”

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