Hot Topic, American Eagle Diverge

Once again the teen chains show sharply different sales results.
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An early glimpse of September same-store sales results from teen retailers once again showed two divergent performances for the month.

Hot Topic

(HOTT)

said after the bell Wednesday that its same-store sales, or sales at stores open for at least a year, dropped 7.3% in September.

The mall-based retail chain, which has been a consistent sales laggard as it struggles to find the right mix for fickle teen tastes, said it expects to report third-quarter earnings at the low end of its previously announced forecast of 16 cents to 18 cents a share.

Shares of Hot Topic slid $1.47, or 12%, to $10.30 in after-hours trading.

In contrast,

American Eagle Outfitters

(AEOS)

said its same-store sales rocketed up 19% in September, and it raised its earnings outlook for the quarter. The teen apparel chain now expects to earn between 61 cents and 63 cents a share, up from its previous guidance of 56 cents to 58 cents.

The majority of sales reports from U.S. retail chains are expected to be released Thursday morning. While the world's largest retailer,

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

, already disappointed Wall Street by lowering its same-store sales forecast for September, investors are expecting the rest of the sector to turn in one of its

best performances of the year.

The S&P Retail Index closed up 2.1% on Wednesday in anticipation of glowing results for September that would foretell a lively holiday shopping season.