Hot Topic Inc, a national mall-based specialty retailer of music-licensed and music-influenced apparel, accessories and gift items for teens, announced today net sales for fiscal July 2001 (four weeks ended August 4, 2001) increased 50 per cent to $26.09 million from net sales of $17.42 million for fiscal July 2000.

Same store sales for the four weeks ended August 4, 2001 increased by 3.8 per cent compared to the corresponding four weeks last year. Last year, the July same store sales increase was 19.7 per cent, on top of a 15.7 per cent same store sales increase in July of 1999.

Net sales for the second quarter of 2001 (13 weeks ended August 4, 2001) increased 39 per cent to $71.95 million from net sales of $51.72 million for the second quarter of 2000. Same store sales for the 13 weeks ended August 4, 2001 increased by 2.4 per cent compared to the corresponding 13 weeks last year. Last year, the second quarter same store sales increase was 21.8 per cent.

Betsy McLaughlin, president and chief executive officer, said: "The trend in sales improved in July and we are pleased to have achieved positive comps for each month of the second quarter on top of last year's difficult comparison of 21.8 per cent. Customer reaction to our differentiated back-to-school assortment has been positive. Our exclusive Pony merchandise started to arrive in our stores last week and initial sales have been very strong. Our promotional activity has been low and in line with last year's promotional schedule. Inventory is on plan and well positioned for the season."