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‘Hunger Games’ Boosts Hot Topic’s Quarter

Like “Twilight” before it, merchandise tied to the hit film “Hunger Games,” turned Hot Topic Inc. to a profit in first quarter.

After the markets closed on Wednesday, the City of Industry teen retailer reported net income of $3.8 million (9 cents a share), compared with a net loss of $7.7 million (-17 cents) in the same period a year earlier. Sales rose more than 6 percent to nearly $172 million, with comparable store sales up 7.5 percent.

Analysts on average had expected net income of 8 cents a share, with about $100,000 more in revenue.

Lions Gate’s post-apocalyptic blockbuster “Hunger Games,” which opened in mid-March, was No. 1 in the domestic box office for four weeks. Hot Topic stores did a brisk business in T-shirts, accessories and CDs based on the film.

“The quarterly results demonstrate the success of our key strategies of returning the Hot Topic brand to its edgy, dark and sexy core, as well as bringing true fashion to the Torrid brand,” said Chief Executive Lisa Harper in a statement.

During the quarter, the company opened one Hot Topic store and 17 Torrid stores and closed five Hot Topic stores and one Torrid store. The company also remodeled or relocated 13 Hot Topic stores and one Torrid store.

At the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2012, the company operated 624 Hot Topic stores and 164 Torrid stores compared to 642 Hot Topic stores and 151 Torrid stores at the end of first quarter of fiscal 2011.

Shares earlier closed down 1 cent, or less than 1 percent, to $9.88 on the Nasdaq.

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