Wedbush Morgan Raises Hot Topic Estimates

Analyst Adrienne Tennant cites strong sales of licensed merchandise and music-themed apparel, particularly rock T-shirts

Wedbush Morgan raised its estimates and target Hot Topic (HOTT ).

Analyst Adrienne Tennant says the teen retailer beat her 29 cents estimate, and the 28 cents Street consensus estimate. She says strong momentum is likely to continue into the holiday season. Tennant cites the company's strong licensed merchandise and positive momentum in its music categories, particularly rock T-shirts. She notes Hot Topic says it plans to open 105 new stores next year -- 80 Hot Topic stores and 25 Torrid stores. She thinks the Torrid store-opening level is conservative.

Tennant raised the 41 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share estimate to 42 cents, raised the 91 cents fiscal 2004 (Jan) estimate to 94 cents, and upped the $1.10 fiscal 2005 estimate to $1.13. She increased her $26 target to $27, and maintains the hold rating.

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