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Hot Topic Inc.
by Zacks Equity ResearchJuly 13, 2012 | Comments : 0 Recommended this article: (1)
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Margins Drive Fiscal First Quarter 2012
On May 16, Hot Topic reported fiscal first-quarter 2012 earnings per share of 9 cents, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny and the prior-year break-even earnings. The upside was mainly driven by solid top-line growth and improved margins, resulting from the companys cost reduction initiatives. The reported earnings also beat its guidance range of 7 cents to 8 cents.
Net sales increased 6.4% year over year to $171.5 million, attributable to robust sales in both the namesake (up 7%) and Torrid concepts (up 5%). Moreover, quarterly sales were almost in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $172 million. Comparable store sales (comps) were up 7.5% compared with 1.2% reported in the year-ago period, driven by a 9.5% rise in namesake comps and a 2.5% spike in Torrid store comps.
As a percentage of revenue, cost of goods sold decreased 140 basis points to 64%. Additionally, selling, general & administrative expenses dropped 0.25% to $55.6 million, while it contracted 220 basis points to 32.4% on the basis of revenue.
Consequently, operating income came in at $6.1 million compared with an operating income of $0.04 million in the year-ago quarter, while operating margin surged 348 basis points to 3.5%.
Estimates Move Higher
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2012 has climbed 2.7% in the last 60 days to 38 cents per share, indicating an estimated annualized growth of roughly 90.0%. For fiscal 2013, the Zacks Consensus Estimate rose by 2.2% over the same timeframe to 47 cents per share, reflecting a year-over-year growth of nearly 24.2%.
Valuation Premium Justified
Hot Topic currently trades at a forward P/E of 25.5x, implying a 77.1% premium to the peer group average of 14.4x. On a price to book basis, the company is at premium of 27.9% with a 2.20 multiple compared with the peer group multiple of 1.72. We believe that the premium is warranted given a higher long-term earnings growth rate (26.7%) compared with the industry average (15.3%). Moreover, the company currently has a PEG ratio of 1.0, on par with the benchmark for a value stock.
Chart Looks Muscular
The chart below shows a consistent upsurge in prices since January 2012, barring some minor pullbacks. Shares of Hot Topic have continually outperformed the 50 and 200-day moving averages for most of this year. The stock has been trading above the 50 day average since January 10 and the 200-day average since February 1. The widening gap between the stock price line and that of the 50 and 200-days moving averages show the growth potential of Hot Topic.
Hot Topic, which competes with Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF) and Wet Seal Inc. (WTSLA), has outperformed the S&P 500 since February this year. The year-to-date return for the stock is roughly 47.9% compared with the S&P 500s return of 5.0%.
Founded in 1988 and based in City of Industry, California, Hot Topic is a specialty retailer operating the Hot Topic and Torrid store concepts across the U.S. as well as the e-space music discovery concept, ShockHound. Hot Topics namesake stores sell a selection of music/pop culture-licensed and music/pop culture influenced apparel, accessories, music and gift items, principally targeted toward the age group of 12 to 22. The companys Torrid stores sell apparel, lingerie, shoes and accessories for plus-size women. ShockHound is Hot Topic s one-stop, genre-spanning website offering MP3s and music merchandise, social networking as well as music news and editorial content.
This Week's Aggressive Growth Zacks Rank Buy Stocks
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Abaxis (ABAX) is a manufacturer of portable medical and veterinary blood analysis systems that has advanced by more than 30% over the past year. In its most recent quarter, this Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) delivered a positive earnings surprise of 23.0%. Given the long-term growth projection of about 15% and the uptrend in earnings estimates, ABAX appears to have bright prospects ahead. Read the full article.
Plastic packaging films maker AEP Industries Inc. (AEPI) has seen its stock price shoot up more than 60% year-to-date, due, in part, to its buoyant earnings results. Given its commanding positions in a number of packaging niche markets, strength across multiple areas, solid double-digit earnings growth projections and attractive synergies from an acquisition, this Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) should be attractive to aggressive growth investors. Read the full article.
The Ryland Group, Inc. (RYL) jumped sharply after announcing solid first quarter results on April 26, 2012, and has been rising consistently since then. In fact, shares of this leading national homebuilder has more than tripled since the third quarter of 2011. With the housing market showing slow signs of improvement in 2012 and estimates on the rise, this Zacks #2 Rank (Buy) stock has bright prospects ahead. Read the full article.
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