Photo by Roberta Mitra of Leila Moss in McQ T-shirt–a collaboration between Target and Alexander McQueen

VF Corps, owners of Reef, The North Face, Vans, Wrangler released interesting news today about their fourth quarter. Overall, profits slid based on weaker sales of denim and sportswear, with overall profit falling 42% to $66.9 million from $115.9 million last year.

However VF Corps’ Outdoor and Action Sports divisions grew 8%, with global revenues for the North Face up 7%, and for Vans up 14%. Unfortunately, its newer acquisitions such as Reef, Nautica, and Lucy have not done well.

“While we continue to believe that each brand has opportunities for improved performance, we concluded that the fair value of our investments in these businesses declined,” said CEO Eric Wiseman.

Meanwhile, Abercrombie & Fitch also reported surprising news with an 8% increase in their January store sales, mainly because of gift-card promotions redeemable after Christmas and winter clearance sales. For a brand that was slow on the uptake for discounting their apparel, when competitors such as American Eagle and Aeropostale did (because they were listening to the consumers), it’s interesting to see how they can still make money from clearance sales -thus proving their original philosophy of not discounting to have been wrong.

Abercrombie closed it’s high-end brand Ruehl January 30th, and total sales for the 4-week period ending January 30 rose 16% (although fourth quarter sales were down 13%).

Hot Topic sales for January dropped 13.1%, mainly due to the dwindling sales of “Twilight” merch. Looks like they may have held onto that trend a little too long. For the fourth quarter ending in January for Hot Topic, sales were down 10% to $214.2 million, missing analyst’s estimates of $216 million.

However with music tour season starting up, expect Hot Topic to have new band merch and accessories in the next few months, which could boost the retailer again.

Alexander McQueen Passes Away
The sad news that designer Alexander McQueen passed away on Thursday, February 11, 2010, is terrible indeed. Alexander McQueen was an inspiration to many and recreated the concept of a fashion runway show by creating modern theatre instead.

His McQ collection for Target last year was the last piece we did on Alexander McQueen. Here it is again for those who many have missed it.