Product assortment and sales
Approximately 30% of Hot Topic's revenue comes from selling licensed band t-shirts. Hot Topic often negotiates exclusive licensing arrangements with musical artists, movie studios, and graphic artists. Fashion apparel for men and women is featured prominently in stores, with products from Tripp NYC, Lip Service, Morbid Threads, Disney, Sanrio, Social Collision, Heartcore Clothing, Nintendo, Chor and Iron Fist being a part of the store's 2009 line-up of merchandise. Clothing sales vary by season, regional market and popular fashion trends.
Up to 50% of Hot Topic's sales are generated by accessories, including sunglasses, private label body jewelry, hosiery, make-up, licensed band stickers and other miscellaneous pop culture items. Accessories generate the most significant amount of profit for the company. Hot Topic drives the profit margin by the use of cross merchandising and suggestive selling. Hot Topic is considered to be a customer-centric retailer.
In 2001, Hot Topic launched Torrid, a concept store geared toward plus sized young women. Torrid stores are currently carrying brands such as BabyPhat, House of Dereon, Dickies, Z. Cavaricci and Apple Bottoms.
The Hot Topic website ships products to approximately 100 countries. The website features discussion boards, streaming music, music news, contests and concert dates.
In 2008, Hot Topic launched ShockHound, an online retailer and social networking music site. The site features music downloads, interviews and exclusive content.
The company has sponsored the 2004 Ozzfest concert tour, the 2005 through 2007 Sounds of the Underground tour ,the 2008 Taste of Chaos tour, and have a stage and sponsor the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival.
Hot Topic Foundation
The Hot Topic Foundation was formed at the California Community Foundation in 2004, focusing on encouraging children and youth in the pursuit of music and the arts. It has granted approximately $4 million to more than 70 organizations throughout the U.S. Recipients have included the Chicago International Children's Film Festival, Little Kids Rock, Heart of Los Angeles, MIND Institute, the Chicago Humanities Festival, Rock Against Cancer, Inner-City Arts, Big Thought, IFP Chicago, Spy Hop Productions, Footlights Inc., Carolina Studios Corp and the KIPP Bayview Academy. Money is raised through sales of guitar picks, exclusive music compilations, mints, and reusable shopping bags.