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Sales Spike Drives Hot Topic Net

NEW YORK — Solid back-to-school and Halloween selling seasons added up to double-digit profit and sales gains for Hot Topic Inc., the rock-oriented specialty teen retailer.<br><br>The City of Industry, Calif.-based retailer said for the three...

NEW YORK — Solid back-to-school and Halloween selling seasons added up to double-digit profit and sales gains for Hot Topic Inc., the rock-oriented specialty teen retailer.

The City of Industry, Calif.-based retailer said for the three months ended Nov. 2 that net income floated 18.1 percent to $10 million, or 31 cents a diluted share, beating expectations by 1 cent. In last year’s comparable period, HT’s income was $8.5 million, or 26 cents. Net sales for the quarter increased 33.1 percent to $122.6 million from $92.1 million and escalated 6.3 percent on a comparable-store basis. Per-share figures reflect a three-for-two stock split effected on Feb. 7.

As reported, HT said earlier this month that, as a result of above-plan October sales, it expected to report third-quarter earnings of 30 cents a share, up from original expectations of 27 to 29 cents.

“The quarter’s results reflect strong sales during both the back-to-school and Halloween peak periods,” Betsy McLaughlin, president and chief executive, said in a statement. “We are optimistic about the upcoming holiday season and believe that our holiday merchandise assortment is unique and differentiated.”

The company also said Tom Rail, formerly general manager for Torrid, resigned Nov. 15 to pursue other interests. McLaughlin has assumed direct responsibility for Torrid until a new general manager is appointed.

For the nine months, income climbed 12 percent to $18.1 million, or 55 cents a diluted share, compared to $16.1 million, or 49 cents. Net sales extended 30 percent overall, to $295 million over sales of $227 million, and 2.6 percent on a comp basis.