A prominent retail strategist has joined the board of directors at music-influenced apparel and accessories retailer Hot Topic Inc.

Cynthia R Cohen is considered one of the nation's leading authorities on branding and retail image. Her areas of expertise include strategic positioning, branding, merchandising, e-commerce and new concept development.

She is also known for her groundbreaking research on the buying habits of ethnic consumers, Generation Y and tweens. In 1990, she founded marketing and strategy-consulting firm Strategic Mindshare.

Robert Jaffe, chairman of the board, said: "The board is excited to have Cynthia Cohen join us. Cynthia brings to the board knowledge of our customers and retail corporate strategies. We look forward to her valuable contribution."

Hot Topic Inc operates 333 stores in 48 states throughout the US.

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