Let’s start with the good news first. U2’s new album No Line on the Horizon kicks-off this week and to celebrate, they’re hosting a pop-up shop in Urban Outfitters very cool concept area Space15Twenty with Amoeba Records. As we wrote about previously on Space15Twenty, the area includes a range of brands, plus of course Urban Outfitters, and a cool mix of vintage products and on-going music and events. This is definitely the new concept of retail.

On March 2 and 3rd, the U2 pop-up shop will feature “Linear,” the new film by Anton Corbijin, set to images from U2’s new album. Plus a bunch of other U2 things like vinyl U2 records, boxsets, a magazine dedicated to the album, plus images, and artwork. The album will be on sale until midnight starting on Monday, and the first 500 people to purchase it also get a limited-edition U2 lithograph by Anton Corbjin.

FRUiTS Magazine launches FRUiTS MiX retail store in Shinjuku

Fruits Magazine, the hip Japanese fashion, style, and trend publication, is opening its own store. And why not? After years of publishing what’s hot on the Japanese street-scene market, they do have an idea of what’s going to sell. Their retail space is going in on the 2nd floor of a very interesting mall-concept called Marui One, which actually opened February 20th in Shinjuku, which in our opinion, is becoming one of the best cultural hotspots for finding leading-edge fashion street tribes in Tokyo, second only to Harajuku. (See full story about Marui One in Tokyo this week.)

The Fruits store is called FRUiTs MiX and it includes collaborations with many local stores from which Fruits Magazine garners much inspiration including vintage store Berberjin (where you can find authentic Americana items) and boutiques like Faline and Dog. In addition, the store is featuring a limited-edition masstige collaboration with famed street fashion designer Nozomi Ishiguro in a collection called FRUiTS PUNCH. What’s interesting about this is that in a time when many magazines in fashion are folding, Fruits not only is going strong, based on the massive interest in Japanese street fashion culture globally, but they’ve taken the concept into a more accessible direction with direct purchase potential for the very scene from which the magazine derives content and inspiration.

Mango Expands
Mango, another Spanish fast-fashion retailer, is set to expand big-time. As we wrote about before about another Spanish retailer Zara in “Is India the New Market for Fashion Retailers? Zara from Spain, Thinks So,” some stores are in expansion-mode while others are simply wilting. The difference? Most of those expanding have a large set of cash on hand, not much debt, and tend to turn-over trendy inventory fast, such as Uniqlo from Japan moving into the United States, H&M moving into Moscow, St. Petersburg, Beijing, and South Korea, Zara moving into India, and now Mango planning to opening up stores in the U.S. (For more information about the European fast-fashion retailers and youth culture preferences, go to our European Youth Culture Studies.)

Gap Dips; J. Crew Squeezes
Meanwhile, the Gap Inc.’s 4th quarter results are in, reporting a 14% drop from $4.1 billion in net sales from $4.7 billion in store sales in the 4th quarter from 2007 to 2008.

J. Crew, another favorite among American youth culture, also reported bad news last week with a cost-reduction plan to save $40 million which includes reducing their workforce by 95 positions, mostly in their New York offices. This is a 10% reduction of staff. Other squeezes include suspending their current 401(k) matching contributions through 2009 for employees, getting rid of 2009 merit-based wage increases, and cutting costs and bumping up efficiencies with their distribution, supply chain, real estate, and catalog circulation.