Hot Topic says key sales measure up in 3Q

Hot Topic says key sales measure up in 3Q, reiterates forecast; testing new lingerie concept

Associated Press

CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif. (AP) -- Hot Topic Inc. reported Wednesday that a key sales measure improved in its fiscal third quarter and the teen retailer reiterated its earnings guidance for the remainder of the year. It also announced plans to test a new store that would specialize in dark, edgy lingerie.

The company said revenue from its stores open at least a year increased 0.2 percent companywide. That is considered a key indicator of a retailer's financial performance as that strips away the impact of recently opened or closed stores. This measure improved 0.5 percent at its Torrid stores, versus a 3.3 percent increase last year. It increased 0.1 percent at its namesake stores, versus a 1.5 percent decrease last year.

Hot Topic said its total revenue companywide increased 2 percent to $178.3 million in its third quarter.

The retailer said it expects to earn between 8 and 10 cents per share for its recently ended third quarter and 23 to 27 cents per share for its fourth quarter, which ends Feb. 2. Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting Hot Topic to earn 9 cents per share and 25 cents per share respectively.

Hot Topic said its new sourcing model at Torrid has improved its pricing and its sales of products at full price. The company is still struggling with soft sales of accessories at its namesake store but is pleased with its clothing sales.

The company also said that it will test a new retail concept, called Blackheart. The store will sell dark, edgy, sexy lingerie and accessories and beauty products targeted at the company's core teen customer. It is opening five stores in Southern California and Texas malls by mid-November. Blackheart products will be available online beginning Nov. 15.

Hot Topic benefitted heavily from sales related to the popular Twilight movie series and appears to be maximizing teenager's ongoing fascinations with vampires and goth-related products.

Shares of the City of Industry, Calif.-based company fell 17 cents, nearly 2 percent, to close at $8.48 but rose 12 cents in after-hours trading on the news.

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