Hot Topic turns to Alliance for branded card services

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Hot Topic Inc. has tapped Alliance Data Systems Corp. to provide credit and marketing services for its Torrid-brand apparel stores.

Per the agreement, Alliance Data will provide private label credit card services, which include account acquisition and activation, card authorization, issuance of private label credit cards, statement generation, receivables funding and remittance processing. Alliance Data will also perform customer service and marketing functions for the retailer.

Alliance Data's private label credit card program will be leveraged to boost Torrid's Divastyle customer rewards program, which claims 1 million members. The existing program offers discounts, events and information to members in exchange for their purchases. Slated to launch this summer, the Alliance-backed Torrid credit card will offer more rewards in the same vein.

“The card program we're launching will be tied into the Divastyle customer loyalty program and add additional benefits and further enhance the value proposition of that program,” said Shelley Whiddon, director of external communications for Alliance. “We'll be using this card as a marketing tool to communicate more relevantly with those customers about special offers or to customize messages in the billing statements based on what their purchase behavior looks like. We're able to provide Torrid a more in-depth view of their customers.”

Hot Topic could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Torrid, launched by Hot Topic in 2001, offers accessories and plus-size apparel for women age 15-29. It has more than 150 bricks-and-mortar locations and also sells merchandise through its Web site. Hot Topic reported fiscal 2007 net sales of $728 million.

Alliance Data manages more than 120 million consumers for its North American clients. Its key brands include Air Miles and Epsilon.

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