Hot Topic Slashes Guidance

The teen gear retailer sees second-quarter earnings of 7 cents to 9 cents a share.
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Hot Topic

(HOTT)

lowered second-quarter sales and earnings guidance Monday, as the once-sizzling goth gear purveyor continues to struggle with fickle teen tastes.

The City of Industry, Calif., chain expects to post sales of $155 million to $158 million in the quarter ending July 30, reflecting same-store sales that are currently down 4% from a year ago in the quarter. The company now expects to earn 7 cents to 9 cents a share, based on the lowered sales estimate.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 12 cents a share on sales of $163.8 million.

Hot Topic said the sales shortfall reflected softness in three of its four main categories: men's and women's clothes and fashion accessories. Only music-related merchandise is showing a positive comparable-store sales trend in the quarter to date.

"Although the comps have improved as we have moved through the month, we expect to be unable to offset the difficult business from earlier in the month," the company said in a release. "We are also experiencing later school ending dates than a year ago in many parts of the country."

The stock was halted in after-hours trading. It closed Monday at $20.40.