Hot Topic ( HOTT) said its same-store sales fell 3.1% in January. The company also backed fourth-quarter earnings expectations.

The clothing retailer said net sales for January 2002 were $18.1 million, compared with $19.6 million in the year-ago period, during which there was an additional week.

"Despite the disappointing January sales, we ended the fourth quarter and year with our margins and inventory on plan," the company said. "We remain comfortable with consensus EPS guidance, adjusted to reflect the stock split, of 37 cents and 85 cents, for the fourth quarter and full year, respectively."

On Instinet, the company's shares were adding 6% to $21.50.