Swimsuit campaign from H&M from this past summer.

For some youth apparel and footwear retailers, September was a good month, especially due to delayed sales from special promotions and discounts -a trend that is becoming the norm among shoppers waiting until the last minute for deals.

There are other brands, such as fast-fashion retailer H&M based out of Sweden which is quickly making its way as a preferred brand in North America according to our data from our Fall Youth Culture Study 2010 that does well without the discounting. In many ways, H&M, along with brands such as Zara, Topshop, and Uniqlo, are pushing the fashion industry in general to produce more trendy pieces fast, and at more affordable prices. H&M for example, changes their store merch within 2-3 weeks, providing timely and trendy pieces that young consumers generally are keen to buy and this faster cycle has pressured other retailers towards producing faster and smarter.

H&M, which will release September sales October 15, did very well in August also with sales in local currencies increasing 24% compared with the same timeframe a year ago. They’ve also announced their collaboration with Lanvin, which taps into the growing trend of masstige -or designers designing capsule collections for the masses (and thus making them relevant) -which has built hype yet again for the retailer. (H&M has been at the forefront of trends in terms of collaborating with high-end designers.)

Abercrombie & Fitch performs better than expected for September, 2010, but also among retailers offering heavy last-minute discounts.

Results from other retailers from September sales indicate stronger sales because of the back-to-school bubble and parents, especially, waiting until the very end to make that trip to the mall. For example, Macy’s, Limited Brands, Abercrombie & Fitch all reported better-than-expected sales results.

The International Council of Shopping Centers’ index for September rose 2.6% which isn’t huge, but indicates it was a better month.

For retailers such as Target, Wet Seal, and the Gap, sales dropped in September. The Gap is also currently getting drawn over the coals for their new logo design, which many font experts and designers have officially ripped apart -even starting an entire anti-Gap logo campaign via Twitter. The Gap’s new logo, in our opinion, also reflects the current state of the retailer, which seems lost in terms of figuring out who they are and recreating their status as major player in youth fashion. As one designer tweeted yesterday about the Gap logo debacle, “they may have to pull a Tropicana” and re-do their logo fast based on consumer agitation.

J.C. Penney’s revenue was up 5.1% which was ahead of the 3.1% increase that analysts predicted, whereas Limited Brands rose 12%. One of the clear winners in September was Abercrombie & Fitch which increased 13%, however they also were one of many retailers slashing prices, offering 12-14% discounts, on their preppy pieces to get shoppers in the stores.

The Buckle and Zumiez also reported decent sales in September as people stocked up for back-to-school, but again, coming in very late in the season to tap into late discounts.

Stay tuned for more news on American Eagle, who anticipate higher quarterly profits also.

Overall, while certain retailers in the youth market did well for September, things are still cautious as shoppers often seek last-minute deals and discounts, which one can expect will happen again for the holiday season.