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Mall and web-based specialty retailer, Hot Topic Inc. , has put forward the name of George Wehlitz for the position of Interim Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Wehlitz will take over the new position after the current Chief Financial Officer, Jim McGinty, is relieved of duties on Mar 29, 2013.

George Wehlitz has been associated with Hot Topic for the past 12 years and has been a key contributor in driving the company’s margin improvement initiatives. He had first joined Hot Topic in 2002 as Vice President, Controller and became its Vice President, Finance in 2008. His deep financial knowledge, proficiency and zeal for the business have gone a long way in transforming the company.

The newly appointed Interim CFO possesses tangible experience in the field of Finance, having worked with companies like Cycle Gear Inc., The Popcorn Factory and The Bombay Company Inc. Prior to his current service at Hot Topic, he served as the Chief Financial Officer for the specialty retailer of motorcycle apparel and accessories, Cycle Gear.

Earlier this month, Hot Topic reported robust sales and comparable-store sales (comps) results for the holiday season for the combined months of November and December. Hot Topic’s comps for the nine weeks ended Dec 29, 2012, inched up 2.2% compared with 1.8% reported in the year-ago period. The increase in comps was driven by a 1.6% rise at the company’s namesake stores and a 5.5% increase at its Torrid stores.

Hot Topic’s net holiday sales increased 4.0% year over year to $177.3 million, on account of robust sales in Torrid concepts stores as well as marginal improvement in the company’s namesake stores.

Hot Topic carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other stocks that are performing well in the specialty retail sector include Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF - Analyst Report), Citi Trends Inc. (CTRN - Analyst Report), which carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and  Gap Inc. (GPS - Analyst Report), which carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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