Retail Traffic

Torn Between Two Rivals

Last month in Orange County Supreme Court, The Wet Seal sued Greg Scott, former president of the company's upscale Arden B. division, after he become CEO at competing chain Bebe Stores Inc. Wet Seal is seeking injunctive relief and damages because Scott allegedly violated his non-compete agreement with Wet Seal and misappropriated confidential information.

Known for his savvy in the juniors market, Scott is credited with guiding Bebe during its most successful period. He's also credited with turning around Arden B., which had seen comp-store sales rise more than 30 percent in the past year. Scott's also worked at Henri Bendel, Macy's and AnnTaylor.

He signed his three-year contract with Wet Seal in May 2002. Katherine Galligan, a research analyst with Aperion Group, says she doubts the firm would hire another exec who might not be able to serve because of a non-compete clause. Last November, American Eagle Outfitters successfully blocked former exec Gregory Gemette from becoming senior vice president and chief merchandising officer at Bebe.

Bebe has had an aggressive expansion on the shelf awaiting the appointment of a new management team for several months. The San Francisco-based, ultra-trendy retailer for ultra-thin 18 to 35-year-olds is expected by Aperion Group to double its square footage by 2009, including the rollout of a new Bebe Sport concept.

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