Intimate apparel maker Maidenform Brands has built a business on getting its little somethings into the hands and on the bodies of its customers. The company makes bras, panties, sleepwear, and increasingly popular shapewear. Maidenform sells its products worldwide, primarily through US discount chain stores (such as Wal-Mart and Target), department stores (Kohl's and Macy's), and warehouse stores (Costco). The company also sells its well-known brands (such as Maidenform, Flexees, and Lilyette) through about 75 company-owned outlets and its websites. Overachieving underthings maker Hanesbrands agreed in 2013 to acquire Maidenform for $547 million.
Hanesbrands is looking to boost earnings and bring onboard popular brands that will allow the company to better compete with rivals, such as Victoria's Secret and Spanx, who are changing the landscape of the bra and underwear niche of the apparel industry. Hanesbrands expects the Maidenform purchase to add to its earnings within 12 months after the deal closes. It anticipates realizing the full benefits of the acquisition within three years. As part of the purchase, Maidenform will have access to Hanesbrands' company-owned manufacturing, which is supplemented by third-party manufacturers.
Maidenform generates 90% of its sales through its wholesale segment, which includes both domestic and international markets. The rest comes from its retail operations consisting of company-operated outlet stores and Maidenform's websites. Its business is centered in the US, which accounts for 90% of its revenue. The apparel company operates overseas in major markets such as the UK, Canada, and Mexico.
The bra maker's sales have remained relatively the same even during the economic downturn. Wholesale sales to department stores and national chain stores brought in some 40% of its 2011 revenue. Mass merchants and other retailers accounted for another 50%, with retail bringing in the rest. Retailers Wal-Mart and Kohl's generated 16% and 13%, respectively, of Maidenform's 2011 sales.
Maidenform has maintained the same product mix for several years. Bras bring in 55% of sales, with shapewear and panties generating 38% and 7%, respectively. Maidenform's extensive line of intimate apparel includes underwire, soft-cup, strapless, and minimizing bras; panties; and firm-control and light-control shapewear. It also makes little somethings under license for Donna Karan. Maidenform's shapewear products remain big sellers and its market is growing. The company has been able to boost its shapewear sales from 31% in 2009. It attributes the rise to sales of its Control It! and Flexees brands, which are peddled through all of its sales channels. Specifically, its Ultimate Instant Slimmer has been a hit. With shapewear being a necessity for more of its customers, Maidenform is looking to create new brands similar to these.
The intimates company has seen increases among its wholesale segment while it worked to shutter underperforming outlet stores on the retail side of its business. Springboarding from a 2008 licensing agreement with Donna Karan, Maidenform in 2009 added noteworthy customers, such as Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom, through a deal to produce women's intimate apparel. In its retail sector, the company identified the most profitable retail outlets, favorable leasing arrangements, and optimum store productivity to decide which of its outlets would remain in place while it pared down its retail operations during the downturn in the economy.
Maidenform has been concentrating its efforts on marketing, product development, and distribution in recent years. It transitioned from operating its own manufacturing facilities to sourcing globally for its products through third parties. As a result, Maidenform has boosted its sales in five years from about $263 million in 2002 to more than $606 million in 2011. More than 90% of Maidenform's sourcing is concentrated in China, Indonesia, and Thailand, operating without long-term contracts. It uses about 40 vendors located in nearly 15 countries.
The company moved in 2007 to somewhat smaller digs in its home state of New Jersey. Maidenform relocated its headquarters from an owned office spanning 98,700 sq. ft. in Bayonne to a leased building with some 67,000 sq. ft. located in Iselin, New Jersey. Its lease expires in May 2017. The company also leases a showroom in New York City.
Maidenform emerged from bankruptcy in 1999 with backing from GE Capital and was acquired by Ares Management in 2004. Maidenform went public in 2005. Ares, which owned about 16% of the company, sold its entire stake in 2010. Maidenform purchased about half of Ares former stake as part of its stock repurchase plan. Keeley Asset Management holds an 11% stake in Maidenform.
The company was established when founders Ida and William Rosenthal invented the cup-style bra in the 1920s. The company's name became iconic through its "I dreamed" Maidenform ads ("I dreamed I stopped traffic in my Maidenform bra").