Latest from Forever 21.

H&M Reports June Sales up 20%
H&M, the European-based fast-fashion retailer that’s quickly becoming a favorite among youth culture in the United States also based on our data from Europe and North America, reported sales for June 2010 increased by 20% compared with the same month last year. H&M is now at 2,062 stores, which is up from 1.827 last year.

Their Fall collections are now coming out, with lots of elegant tailoring and a nod to the early ’80’s. According to H&M’s head of design, Ann-Sofie Johansson, “It’s about being well dressed and comfortable too. Soft, warm, and casual. A sporty and futuristic look in black with bright accents weighs against the tailoring and knitwear. Our customers like to mix and match the new with their old favorites to reinforce their own personal style.”

Uniqlo Up 22.7%, plus Launch of Fair Trade Program in Bangladesh
Fast Retailing, owners of Uniqlo, had a banner third quarter also. This fast-fashion “no-logo” retailer from Japan is also becoming a favorite among youth culture. They reported a net sales increase of 22.7% and a net income increase of 35.2%. Ironically, it was in their home country of Japan were sales were down, which they say was due to unseasonably cold weather which effected same store sales in Japan.

Uniqlo has made huge strides in expansion and are set to open in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in September, 2010. What’s interesting about this expansion is that Fast Retailing, which has a strong philanthropic component, is putting their money where their mouth is with this fair-trade objective of “helping to solve social problems, including those related to poverty, sanitation, and education issues in Bangladesh through the planning, production, and sale of clothing.”

Uniqlo predicts that Bangladesh is expected to experience economic growth, much of it driven by the textile industry, but people there still face an abundance of social problems. The joint venture is intended to provide some 250 jobs, develop skills, and provide manufacturing and clothing at a price point affordable to people living below the poverty line, while still maintaining quality.

Brian Lichtenberg for Forever 21.

Forever 21 Launches Designer Collaboration
Forever 21 has announced that they too, will go the high-low route with a designer-collaboration, which has done well with other mega retailers such as Uniqlo, Target, and H&M. Launching this fall, they’ve tapped LA-based designer Brian Lichtenberg, a young local guy best known for designing those cool holograph tights that M.I.A., Santogold, and Beyonce wear.

Lichtenberg’s style is very much a mix of emo, rock, and progressive sci-fi which we predict will go over well with youth culture today as seen by our summer street reports so far. Some call it a Silver Lake look, which is evident if walk the streets around that part of town.

JCPenney’s Launches Extensive Social and Mobile Media Campaign to Target Teens for Back-to-School
Bringing in the heavyweights Saatchi & Saatchi and Razorfish, JCPenney’s is launching a back-to-school campaign targeted to teens called “New look, New year. Who knew!” JC Penney’s, which also has an assortment of private exclusive brands such as RS by Sheckler, plus Rusty, Vans, and Converse, and an assortment of denim, is ramping up it’s viral and social media play with their website, to feature “hauls” -where you can show off your recent shopping purchases with short product reviews and post them online. The site will also feature a voting system of top 10 looks. In conjunction with, they’ve also created a virtual reality system that allows you to “try on” an item and then link it to to buy it. This sounds very much like H&M and Second Life’s collaboration, which could be where the idea started.

Their mobile strategy includes an iPhone app (they should make an Android version as well), that includes the typical fare of mobile coupons, but in addition, they’re bringing their “hauls” to the app and weekly texts on back-to-school latest looks. You can also upload your own virtual look which can be shared with friends and voted on, via your mobile phone. They will also be one of a select group of company’s using Apple’s new iAd concept with an interactive ad that will appear on iPhone and iPodTouch users.

JC Penney’s is also going after action sports heavily, especially among girls, which is a wise move. They’ll be showcasing their exclusive brand Supergirl by Nastia through the sponsorship of the Supergirl Jam %u2013a large-scale, all girls action sports competition, which will include appearances by Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin and additional top female action sports athletes. JCPenney will also showcase RS by Sheckler and Zoo York through its sponsorship of the Dew Tour, which features Ryan Sheckler, Chaz Ortiz and other pro skaters.

Finally in our retail round-up of the big guys, Tommy Hilfiger is launching a “lifestyle” collection for men and women targeting twentysomethings. Their plan also includes having its own retail footprint, separate from Tommy Hilfiger -the normal American brand. Stay tuned for more on this coming soon.