Updated from July 15Hot Topic ( HOTT) went cold Friday, plunging through a 52-week low after cutting its second-quarter earnings estimate for the second time in about a week. The specialty retailer's shares were recently down $3.12, or 16.4%, to $15.94 after it said second-quarter sales and earnings will come in below the Wall Street consensus. In addition, the company cut third- and fourth-quarter estimates, citing July's lower-than-expected same-store sales. The old 52-week intraday low of $18.15 was reached July 25, 2003. Hot Topic expects to earn 10 cents a share on revenue of $136 million in the second quarter ended July 31. The consensus is for 13 cents a share with sales of $140.9 million. The company earned 11 cents a share in the year-earlier period. Hot Topic said its men's, women's and fashion accessories units have not shown the types of sales improvements it anticipated. "We continue to experience difficulty translating the current 'clean and preppy' fashion trends to styles that appeal to our core customer base," the company said. "In July and throughout the third quarter, we plan to take steps to address the resulting inventory risk." The company said same-store sales will be down 6% to 8% in July; through Wednesday, they've already dropped 4% this month from last year. The company expects a similar trend in the rest of the month. The company said July 7 that same-store sales in June fell 0.4%, and at that time the goth teen retailer lowered its second-quarter profit expectation to 13 cents a share vs. analysts' then-consensus for 14 cents a share. Hot Topic had cited new merchandising assortment changes that went into affect later than expected in June.
The company said it expects same-store sales in both the third and fourth quarters to be flat to down 3%. As a result, third-quarter profit is expected to be 30 cents to 33 cents a share. The consensus had been 36 cents a share with sales of $229.81 million. For the fourth quarter, the company expects EPS of 49 cents to 52 cents a share vs. the consensus for 53 cents a share on revenue of $194.81 million. Hot Topic earned 28 cents a share in the third quarter last year and 44 cents a share in the fourth quarter of 2003. The company expects inventories at the end of the second quarter to be flat on a per-square-foot basis. Hot Topic reports second-quarter earnings on Aug. 18.