Lots of retailers had an excellent August, benefiting from the back-to-school season. But Hot Topic's month was pretty tepid. The goth and music retailer said same-store sales decreased by 1.1%, versus the 5.4% comp decline this time last year. Granted, its comp performance was a bit better than the 2.5% decrease analysts were expecting. Total sales fell 2.5% to $71.2 million.
It's not time to grab the black light and throw a party just yet, though. The company said in its sales call that the shift in the tax-free shopping days in Florida and Texas helped boost its August results by about three or four percentage points.
Companies like Hot Topic and Gap
It's not like there aren't some retail stocks out there right now that look like they're worth serious study. I recently thought Charlotte Russe
Of course, monthly sales data are no substitute for the long-term view and deep study of companies and their prospects. However, they certainly give investors important data to watch for pertaining to the current climate for certain retailers' brands and merchandise. August data imply that Hot Topic's still showing little sign that it's really getting its act together. When it comes to its current share price, investors who are looking for growth and value will probably be better served by shopping elsewhere.
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