In some parts of the world, retail still marches on with recent news of 2 store openings happening this week, and another in the near future. First up is the 5th theme store for Emily the Strange in Athens, Greece on November 13. Featuring the “dungeon” theme, the 2-story store will include all of the Emily apparel collection including her famous band T-shirts, plus accessories, toys, and footwear. Emily the Strange, the darkly humorous character created by artist Rob Reger in 1993 has become an unlikely symbol for young female empowerment and DIY punk/Goth style as her character and funny sayings continue to attract a fringe subculture of followers who may have first discovered her in comic books by Dark Horse Comics, or in books published by Chronicle Books. Young girls simply love Emily the Strange and when the character spun into apparel, school supplies, backpacks, and accessories, a few years ago, the brand was an overnight hit -but in a dark, Goth, Hello Kitty sort of way.

What’s interesting about Emily’s popularity in Greece can be traced to the Goth movement from the United Kingdom in the early ’80’s. As an offshoot to the post-punk genre, the Goth rock scene grew tremendously in Europe -even more so than in the U.S. and many trends from the UK tend to seep into Greek youth culture. Being a Goth teen in a heavily Gothic-influenced European country such as Greece is a far more serious “lifestyle choice” according the p.r. director Jill Beaverson, than simply a whimsical trend which makes establishing a store in Athens quite timely and unique.

In addition, Emily the Strange’s association with music-inspired apparel, especially the “Emily” bands including Blondie, Sonic Youth, and Guns & Roses, have made the brand especially popular. The success of new theme stores also in Hong Kong, Thailand, and Taiwan indicate that the brand has become an international icon. While of course the Emily store will feature the Emily bands, other music in the store will include top European underground dance music. The store, owned by Plastelini LTD, will be located at Ermou 105 kai Karaiskaki, Monastiraki, in Athens.

Miner49er in San Clemente, CA

Opening November 15, Denim Design Lab and Montreal-based BZen will open a one-of-a-kind denim store called Miner49er. Discerning vintage denim fanatics are going to love this store because its part shopping experience and history lesson with a trip back to California in the 1849 gold rush era when Levi Strauss first became the must-wear utilitarian workpants for miners.

Minder49er will also include vintage-inspired T’s, books, antiques, and other one-off items. But the highlight of course will be the denim: Men’s and women’s jeans sold are produced from denim woven on vintage shuttle looms, built to last using the same hard-wearing construction techniques found on vintage workwear, then updated with modern fits and styles.

The store will also feature a small, permanent museum with original artifacts from the Gold Rush era in California from the mid-1800’s. Location: Miner49er, 420 N El Camino Real, San Clemente, CA 92672.

Forever 21 in Times Square

Fast-fashion youth culture retailer Forever 21 has announced plans to open a giant store -100,000 square feet -at 1540 Broadway in Times Square sometime in the near future. This announcement came this weekend but store opening dates have not yet been released.

Forever 21 did $1.3 billion in sales in 2007 and are estimated to do $1.8 billion by the end of this year. According to Label Networks’ North American Youth Culture Study data, we have seen preferences among consumers, particularly 13-25-year-olds increase for Forever 21 over the last 3 years. Notably, this store like Uniqlo, H&M, and even TopShop in the UK (with a new store opening also in New York City) tend to do well with the new generation of consumers who are looking for “no-name” brands or rather generic labels/store labels that are fashionable yet offered at a low-cost.

Stay tuned for more on Forever 21 in the coming months as reported in Label Networks’ Brand Profiles section for Premium subscribers.