Japan’s fast-fashion retailer that’s slowly taking over how the world looks at fashion, reported a 11.5% increase in same store sales for December as reported on January 4, 2010, with an overall 18.5% increase in December for Japan Uniqlo stores. Most of this is because of the success of their new fabric/collection HeatTech and thee strong performance of winter jackets and fashionable first-layer pieces made out of this material.

To provide a bit of background, there’s a reason we keep writing about Uniqlo, the fast-fashion retailer that’s all about the no-logo trend and providing quality pieces at affordable prices.. While some are slow to pick on the Fast Retailing Company’s formula for success in the United States, let us once again state that this is a brand/retailer to watch. Especially as the stores in NYC continue to draw traffic no matter how tough things are in the economy, and the fact that more Uniqlo stores are expected to appear in the USA in near future.

Uniqlo successfully combines fashion and retail with technology via online, mcommerce, DIY advert widgets, and progressive fabrics. Plus of course, their highly successful collaboration with Jil Sander. First there was UniQlock, which in itself was oddly addictive, then the Uniqlo Tokyo Map that would get you watching one fashionista to another in the coolest backstreet districts of Tokyo, then the UT Loop widget from which you could create your own T-shirt ad campaign. But with the launch of their winter campaign HeatTech, they added a very cool musical component that’s like a mini-movie fashion show which one can modify with their own MP3 tunes called Uniqlo Tunes.

In addition, Uniqlo launched more online stores, now in France and the U.S., which combined with their online networks in Japan, the U.K., South Korea, and China, gives Uniqlo, especially their HeatTech, line a serious boost.

Which brings us to HeatTech. The Japanese technology behind this collection is based in the fabrics and how they’re designed. They provide enough heat to the wearer without one having to “bulk-up” with an excessive amount of layering. It also has moisture-wicking properties so you don’t sweat. It’s a technical fabric made into fashionable apparel, which has moved it from the category of “innerwear” to outerwear. It’s the kind of collection that the outdoor industry should take a note of overall.

HeatTech isn’t completely new in Japan, but it is in other areas of the world, including the USA and France -and via their new online stores in these countries. Now that pieces come in the usual range of 23 Crayola-box colors, and 37 different design pieces for men and women, HeatTech apparel is a modern, no-logo-ed, fashion statement that’s both stylish and functional.

K2 Licenses Adio Skate Shoes
The core skate shoe brand Adio, which was purchased by K2 Sports (which also owns K2 Skis and Snowboards, Morrow, Ride, Tubbs, Atlas, and Planet Earth including Adio, among others), signed off on a license agreement for Adio to Anthony L&S Footwear Group. AL&S makes footwear licenses for brands such as Polo, Levi’s, and Cadillac.

This has of course created significant speculation for the core skate show brand on what’s going to happen to it in the future. AL&S is looking to move into the skate industry and Adio is their first move in terms of core brands. Interestingly, if you look a little deeper, AL&S also has a partnership with Samsung, yes, the phone company, which actually acquired Sessions, the core/punk skate and snowboarding brand, and one of the few streetwear brands for women, M.O.B. (Married to the Mob).

Forever 21 in Harajuku

We’re a little late on this announcement but it’s worth repeating since Forever 21, despite all of the lawsuits it seems to handle, is seriously blowing up in Japan. The store opening in Harajuku on Meiji Dori between Takeshita Dori and Harajuku is an amazing place for the 19.000 square foot store. Not only do these streets offer some of the best Goth and Lolita stores in the world, but H&M is very nearby, which has become another hotspot among youth culture in Japan.

While Forever 21 is obviously well known and liked (see our North American Youth Culture Study for actual data trends) among 13-25-year-old females, it’s just beginning to rise in Japan as more young women get to know the brand/retailer.

Supposedly, Forever 21 plans on opening many more stores in Tokyo and is currently scouting additional locations for 2010, marking yet another retailer that is doing well despite the recession.

Quiksilver 4th Quarter Decrease
In case you’re just catching up on your financial news since the holidays, Quiksilver‘s 4th quarter net revenues dropped 11% from $538.7 million from $606.9 million in the same quarter last year.

Robert B. McKnight, Jr., Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Quiksilver, Inc., commented, “Our fourth quarter was very challenging, as retailers bought conservatively for the holiday season and traffic in our own retail stores remained sluggish through October. In that context, we were pleased that our results were somewhat better than we expected. We also accomplished a number of important business objectives in the quarter. We reinforced our product leadership, maintained and even expanded our leading market share positions and staged a number of major events further connecting our brands with the broad group of consumers that either participate in or are inspired by action sports.”

One of these events included the Tony Hawk extravaganza in Paris, as reported in our Events section.

However if you look at the new revenues in the Americas, Quiksilver dropped a dramatic 22%. In comparison, it’s European net revenues decreased only by 4% where the brand tends to do better than in the Americas. This can also be said of its Asia/Pacific segment. Like many publicly held action sports brands, moving on beyond the saturated U.S. market and going overseas where action sports lifestyle is still somewhat new is the next big step in increasing revenues.

Quiksilver’s 1st quarter outlook for 2010 is expected to be down 7%.

PacSun Names Robert Cameron as VP of Marketing
This just in: Pacific Sunwear has named Robert Cameron, formerly from Levi Strauss, as the VP of Marketing. Gary Schoenfeld, President, and formerly from Vans, hopes Cameron will help PacSun reclaim their position as a favorite store to shop among 15-24-year-olds by working with “PacSun%uFFFDs heritage brands to infuse the California lifestyle into the PacSun experience.”

The only problem is what if youth culture is over the California lifestyle (or the California lifestyle version as portrayed by PacSun)?

Not that we want to get started on the whole “Decline of the Action Sports Lifestyle” thing again, but according to our data, tracking for several years now, PacSun started slipping as a favorite retail location among youth culture ages 13-25-years-old quite some time ago. And along with it, some of the “heritage” brands found mostly at PacSun. More details of course can be found in our North American Youth Culture Studies, including who is on the rise from brands and retailers, and what to expect for 2010.