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Hot Topic Meets Targets

Beleaguered mall-based retailer Hot Topic (HOTT) reported a 19% rise in third-quarter income, matching Wall Street's estimates.

The City of Industry, Calif.-based company, which sells music-based apparel and accessories for young people, posted earnings of $7.1 million, or 16 cents a share, up from $5.9 million, or 13 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call anticipated earnings of 16 cents a share.

Sales increased 2% to $196.7 million. Same-store sales fell 6.8% on top of a 6.2% drop a year ago.

At the end of the quarter, the company operated 693 Hot Topic stores and 129 Torrid stores, compared with 648 Hot Topic stores and 114 Torrid stores a year ago.

The company expects to open 35 new stores in fiscal 2007, consisting of 15 new Hot Topic stores and 20 new Torrid stores. The company also plans to remodel about 60 to 80 Hot Topic stores.

Separately, the company said Chris Daniel has been promoted to president of the Torrid chain, which sells plus-sized clothes. Daniel has been the chief merchandising officer of Torrid since August 2006. He joined the company as vice president, general merchandise manager of Torrid in October 2004.

Hot Topic shares recently were up 93 cents, or 8.4%, to $12.04.

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