Hot Topic vs. Pacsun: Teen Clothing Comparison

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Difference between Hot Topic and Pacsun

When it comes to cutting-edge youth-oriented clothing, Hot Topic and Pacsun are undeniably the names to beat. Known for their distinctive looks and trendy appeal, these stores represent the tastes of the late-teens/early-20s set like few others. Let's take a look at what each clothing chain has to offer.

Profile

Hot Topic is a retail clothing chain based in the United States. The company specializes in music and culture-related merchandise with a strong punk rock aesthetic. In addition to clothes and accessories, Hot Topic also sells licensed music on CD.

Pacific Sunwear of California, Inc. or PacSun is a retail clothing company based in the United States. The chain predominantly features clothes and merchandise related to the youth culture of Southern California.

Product Line

As much as 30% of Hot Topic's revenue is drawn from retail sales of licensed band apparel such as t-shirts. The company actually has numerous licensing agreements with musical artists, film studios, and graphic artists. However, a much larger portion of the company’s revenue–as much as 50% in fact–is derived from sales of accessories such as sunglasses, body jewelry, hosiery, makeup, and even stickers. In addition, the company also sells a variety of miscellaneous pop-culture merchandise. The company has consistently employed cross merchandising and suggestive selling as a means to boost its profit margin.

PacSun for its part has a product line comprised of casual wear, with a small selection of accessories and footwear specifically designed for teens and young adults.

Outlets

Hot Topic currently has more than 690 stores in the United States alone, with six outlets located in Puerto Rico, and two in Canada. Most outlets are located in shopping malls. By August 2010, Hot Topic opened its first two international stores in Canada, with one opening on August 11 at Square One Shopping Centre in Ontario, and the second opening at Scarborough Town Centre in Toronto, Ontario the next day.

PacSun started out with a mere 11 stores in California in 1986. At present, it has nearly 900 outlets located all over the United States and in Puerto Rico, of which 800 are PacSun stores and 100 are PacSun Outlets. Most PacSun stores are distributed according to the general population of the state, with more populous areas having more stores. The exceptions are Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut. PacSun also has more stores in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Arizona than the population would warrant. Despite the fact that the company originated in California, the number of its outlets in the state is about proportional to its population, excluding PacSun Outlets.

Summary

Hot Topic

  • A retail clothing chain based in the United States
  • Specializes in music and culture-related merchandise with a strong punk rock aesthetic
  • A large portion of the company’s revenue is derived from sales of accessories

PacSun

  • A retail clothing company based in the United States
  • Predominantly features clothes and merchandise related to the youth culture of Southern California

 
 

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