* Hott Topic Aug comp sales fall 8.1 pct vs est -6.9 pct
* Zumiez Aug comp sales fall 12.1 pct vs est -18.9 pct
By Viraj Nair
BANGALORE, Sept 2 Apparel retailer Hott Topic Inc HOTT.O posted a sharper-than-expected fall in August sales at stores open at least a year, while Zumiez Inc (ZUMZ.O) reported a narrower-than-expected decline in same-store sales.
Hot Topic, which sells music-inspired apparel and accessories mainly to teens, reported a 8.1 percent fall in August same-store sales. Analysts were expecting a drop of 6.9 percent, according to Thomson Reuters Estimates.
"The disappointing comp in (women's) assortment reflects teens migrating to specialty apparel stores offering more basic denim (washes and fits) rather than the embellished, rock infused styles being seen at Hot Topic," Wall Street Strategies analyst Brian Sozzi said by mail.
He added that same-store sales were hurt by soft sales in the fourth week of August as parents held back budgets for the Labor Day holiday weekend.
Total sales were down 7 percent at $66.6 million, during the four-week period.
Zumiez, which sells skate and snow-boarding inspired apparel and accessories, posted a 12.1 percent fall in same-store sales, while analysts were expecting a much sharper 18.9 percent decline in comparable sales.
"It looks like week 3 was definitely where they saw some pick up in their business...I think people were preparing for back-to-school shopping," Wedbush Morgan analyst Betty Chen said.
The Everett, Washington-based retailer said total sales fell 3 percent to $51.7 million for the period ended Aug. 29.
During the month, the company operated 371 stores out of which 330 were comparable stores. Hott Topic shares closed at $6.83 Wednesday on Nasdaq. Shares of Zumiez were up 3 percent at $12.55 in trading after the bell on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Viraj Nair in Bangalore; Editing by Pradeep)
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