From H&M’s & Other Stories brand which markets mostly via video vignettes on YouTube.

Financials are coming in for the New Year and two of the most important ones to watch are the fast-fashion giants, H&M and Uniqlo (Fast Retailing). First, H&M had a big announcement, yesterday, January 9, 2013 saying that they will launch their & Other Stories, a strong brand within the H&M group, in the Spring in 7 cities and through an online store called in 10 European countries.

What’s interesting about this brand is how they have turned to creating short video vignettes telling various stories, of course, about what’s behind the inspiration for creating beauty products, or bags, or ready-to-wear, or jewelry. The videos are intriguing and represent the growing trend in utilizing YouTube and Tumblr to push product.

During spring & Other Stories is launching its first stores in Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, London, Milan, Paris and Stockholm. The online store which we anticipate will be popular, launches on in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom.

& Other Stories will launch in 10 European cities this Spring and online.

“All of us at & Other Stories are thrilled to open our first stores in some of the major European cities and we are looking forward to offering our collections to an even broader audience through,” says Samuel Fernström, Head of & Other Stories.

According to & Other Stories, they will be offering women a wide range of shoes, bags, accessories, beauty and ready-to-wear to create their personal style, or story. The lines are diverse, ranging from masculine tailoring to feminine chic and are designed to provide endless styling choices. The aim is to design lasting wardrobe treasures within a wide price range. In the creative ateliers in Paris and Stockholm diversified fashion collections are designed with great attention to detail and quality at an affordable price.

Fast Retailing’s Uniqlo Up 23.5%; USA’s Flagship in NYC Up

The increasingly popular fast-fashion chain, Uniqlo has released their financials also. For Uniqlo, Japan currently constitutes 64.4% of consolidated sales and 70.5% of consolidated operating income. In the three months to November 2012, UNIQLO Japan generated gains in both sales and income with sales increasing 7.7% year on year. Sales were initially dampened by the lingering hot weather in September through early October. But once the weather turned colder, sales of the advertised ranges such as Ultra Light Down, HEATTECH, fleece, danpan warm pants and other core fall/winter items picked up strongly. As a result, same-store sales increased 5.0% year on year in the first quarter. For Uniqlo International, it outperformed their initial target for the first quarter to generate gains in both sales and income of over 50% year on year. Sales expanded an impressive 51.1% year on year. Over the three months to November, an increase of 55 stores were recorded mainly in Asia, bringing the total number of UNIQLO International stores to 347 at the end of November, 2012.

Looking at individual UNIQLO International operations in more detail, UNIQLO China and UNIQLO South Korea exceeded initial estimates while UNIQLO’s other Asian operations in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines also reported strong results. Revenue at UNIQLO USA expanded considerably in the first quarter due to a number of factors.

Sales at the global flagship New York Fifth Avenue Store, opened in October 2011, increased favorably. They also opened a 3,300sqm large-format store in the leading Garden State Plaza shopping mall in New Jersey in September 2012 and the first UNIQLO store on the West Coast of the United States, the San Francisco Union Square Store, in October 2012. As a result, UNIQLO was able to reduce the operating loss reported by UNIQLO USA as planned.

UNIQLO Europe (U.K., France and Russia) reported gains in both sales and income in the first quarter. In light of this strong performance in the first quarter, UNIQLO has decided to revise their initial fiscal 2013 forecasts for UNIQLO International. Their relatively conservative initial estimates reflected the slowdown in economic conditions in China and South Korea at the beginning of the fiscal year. However, subsequently, performance in China, South Korea and across Asia has consistently outstripped those targets and this persuaded them to revise up our forecasts for the UNIQLO International segment as a whole.

In the United States, UNIQLO is planning to open two new stores in suburban New York shopping malls (Palisades Center and Ridge Hill Shopping Center) in spring 2013, so they have revised their year-end forecast for UNIQLO USA store numbers from 5 to 7 stores.

Urban Outfitters Up

On Monday, January 7, 2013, Urban Outfitters Inc reported a net income of $60 million for their 2012 Q3 ending October 31, which represented a 17.6% increase from 2011 during the same time period. The mix of brands, accessories, and on-target marketing and advertising has given Urban Outfitters a boast especially among youth culture.

Interestingly, Urban Outfitters works on very little cash debt, making it a stronger player than most brands in the youth culture marketplace.

Stay tuned for more retail round-ups as financials continue to be released in and next few days.