Hot Topic, a.k.a. Your Favorite Mall Goth Hangout Spot, Is Still Thriving in 2019
The internet didn't just nuke the traditional music industry — it's been wreaking havoc on physical retail locations with increasing effect. Weathering all of this is Hot Topic, which, according to a New York Times report, is still thriving in the face of adversity.
Before their racks were littered with Pop! Funko dolls and pop culture merch ranging from superhero movies to Netflix's most binged content, Hot Topic was a dark, gloomy store teeming with metal shirts for all your entry-level bands and offered a wide selection of body jewelry for piercings your parents didn't know you had along with an assortment of dye to turn your hair the most unnatural of colors. In short, it was any goth's haven.
A lot has changed as the company overhauled its look, shedding its dark interior and gothic logo in favor of a more well-lit store and modern logo. Rather than resisting change, Hot Topic embraced the broader tastes of the younger generation, realizing they didn't identify with just one musical style or genre of TV and film.
"What Hot Topic has managed to do really amazingly — and quietly — is to pivot their products and their brand perception to cater to the next generation and what they’re most interested in," MaryLeigh Bliss, the vice president of content at marketing research firm Ypulse, told the New York Times. "They have completely kept up with what young consumers want."
As the rate of mall closures has skyrocketed in recent years, it hasn't signaled a death blow for Hot Topic. There are currently 676 active locations in the United States and Canada, up from the 662 locations that exited in 2014.
In 2013, the retail outlet was acquired by Sycamore Partners for $600 million. Since Hot Topic is a private firm, the financial details of their business have not been disclosed publicly.
Read the full New York Times report here.
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