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Sunday, Oct 1, 2023

Hot Topic Replaces CEO

Teen retailer Hot Topic Inc., which earlier this month hired a consultant to review its struggling business, late Monday said that Betsy McLaughlin resigned as chief executive and a board member has been appointed to permanently replace her.

McLaughlin, 49, had been with the City of Industry company since 1993 and became chief executive in 2000. She will be replaced by Lisa Harper, 50, a former chief executive at specialty retail chain Gymboree Corp., who joined Hot Topic’s board in 2008. McLaughlin will assist in a three-month transition.

“We thank Betsy for her many years of dedicated service to Hot Topic,” said Chairman Bruce Quinnell in a statement. “We also welcome Lisa to the management team and look forward to her guidance and leadership.”

Hot Topic, which operates mall stores under the Hot Topic and plus-size Torrid brands, announced in November that it would close 40 to 50 stores – about 5 to 6 percent of its total store base – by the end of the first quarter. On March 7, it said that it hired a consulting and financial advisory firm to review its business and operations. The board reviewed those recommendations at a special meeting last week.

The company reported a fourth quarter loss of 1 cent per share, but adjusted for $9.8 million in closings and other cost-reduction expenses the company had net income of 12 cents, a penny short of the Wall Street consensus.

Shares, which earlier closed up less than a percent, to $5.16 on the Nasdaq, rose nearly 4 percent in after-hours trading.

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