VF Announces 11% Increase in 4th Quarter Revenues
While many youth retailer brands are still feeling the effects of a down economy, VF Corp., owners of brands such as Vans and The North Face, announced on February 22, 2011, an increase in 4th quarter revenues of 11% up to $2,126.2 million from $1,915.4 million last year. The main growth was in their Outdoor and Action Sports categories which rose 20%. Their Contemporary brands category however, declined 9%.

According to their press release: The momentum continues in our Outdoor & Action Sports businesses, which again achieved record revenues, operating income and operating margins in the current quarter. Total global revenues in Outdoor & Action Sports rose 20% in the quarter, with revenues of our Americas business rising 17% and international revenues up 32% on a constant currency basis. The strength of The North Face(R) and Vans(R) businesses led to growth in global revenues for these brands of 25% and 18%, respectively. Jeanswear globally increased 7%.

Abercrombie & Fitch Reports Growth
Another youth culture brand that’s seen remarkable increases is Abercrombie & Fitch whose shares increased 7% last Wednesday, when announcing that its Q4 profits soared to an amazing 95.1%. On February 16, they announced net sales including direct-to-consumer increased 23% to $1.149 billion. Comparable store sales increased 13%. Hollister Co. comparable store sales increased 13%.

Their outlook includes more stores across Europe and more Hollisters in malls towards the end of 2011: In Fiscal 2011, the Company expects to open international Abercrombie & Fitch flagship stores in Paris, Madrid, Dusseldorf, Brussels, Dublin and Singapore. The Dusseldorf location will also include an abercrombie kids store. In addition the Company expects to open 30 to 40 international mall-based Hollister stores, primarily in the latter part of the year. The Company expects a minimal number of domestic store openings in 2011. In addition, the Company continues to expect to close approximately 50 domestic stores during Fiscal 2011, primarily at the end of 2011 through natural lease expirations.

H&M Goes Unisex with their Fashion Against AIDs Collection
Tapping into unisex style trends, especially in youth culture, H&M announced the launch of their Fashion Against AIDS (FAA) initiative. FAA is a campaign designed to raise both funds and awareness, which has so far donated over 41 million Swedish Krona for Designers Against AIDS (DAA) and various other international HIV/AIDS projects. Because the HIV/AIDS message is as important for young women as much as it is for young men, the sporty unisex collection is for everyone to wear in their own way. The collection is available in H&M’s Divided department from 26th April and 25% of sales will be donated to youth HIV/AIDS projects around the world.

“We wanted to create a unisex collection with a sporty vibe. It felt really liberating to think of the cut, the shape and the fabric first before thinking of what gender it should be for. Key pieces are the slogan T-shirts as well as the sports style jacket with zip details, which can be worn in all sorts of ways. FAA is vital because it is so crucial to make young people aware of HIV and AIDS,” says Ann-Sofie Johansson, Head of Design at H&M.

“H&M’s FAA campaigns are extremely important, as it is essential to spread the message to young people worldwide to take care and have safe sex. The main message is: life is beautiful, so keep it that way and be safe, both for yourself and your partner. HIV is everywhere, not just in Africa, not just in the gay community %u2013 HIV concerns us all. If you’re old enough and wise enough to make love, you’re also old and wise enough to take care,” says Ninette Murk, founder and creative director, DAA.

Women can work that boyfriend look and men are working with styling more than ever in the way they dress. The starting point is shape and detail, with sporty T-shirts, blousons and parkas that are there to be personalized: sleeves can be rolled up or zipped off, waists can be belted and garments totally adapted from one item into another. A draped nylon parka looks just right as it is, or its sleeves can be zipped off and its waist accentuated to turn it into a dress for girls. The oversized and asymmetric slogan T-shirts can be worn in so many ways, while the collection is full of the perfect track pants, tanks and shorts perfect for summer.