Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hot Topic enters sales 'Twilight'

Is Stephenie Meyer's vampire franchise entering its twilight years?  It's too soon to tell, but it would seem so, according to Hot Topic - the faux-goth/punk mall store (for teens who want to rebel at retail prices).

As reported on Friday in The Wall Street Journal, last week Hot Topic a worse-than-expected 13 percent decline in April same-store sales. The figures are "worse than analysts' expectations of a 7.9% decline and following prior-year growth of 3.1%. For months, Hot Topic's results were bolstered by merchandise tied to the popular vampire film Twilight, but sales have slid of late." Moreover, as reported in TheStreet.com, Hot Topic isn't really expecting the release of Eclipse, the third Twilight Saga film installment, to bolster sales that much.

The Hot Topic numbers may be the second part of a trend that began with Lagardère - the parent company of Hachette Book Group (the Twilight Saga publisher) - which showed a 6.5 percent drop in sales from the most recent quarter compared to last year. The reason for the drop, according to Lagardère: "The expected erosion in Stephenie Meyer sales".

As business news Web site BNET astutely notes, "The problem with building a business model based on trends is that a runaway train of success can end in a screeching derailment based on the whims of 14-year-olds" who may be on to the next big thing and less likely to buy up every Twilight-branded product.