Carter's has built a big business catering to little ones. Operating through its William Carter Company, it's the largest US branded marketer of apparel exclusively for babies and young children. Primary products include newborn layette clothing, sleepwear, and playwear. It markets its items under the Carter's and OshKosh B'Gosh brands, as well as private labels Child of Mine, Just One You, Genuine Kids, and Precious Firsts. While Carter's sells products online and as a wholesaler via 17,400 department and specialty stores, it also operates some 835 Carter's and OshKosh stores nationwide and almost 150 stores in Canada.
Carter's primarily operates in the US, but gained a foothold in Canada by acquiring its longtime international licensee there. As a result, the manufacturer also boasts a growing retail presence across the nation and into Canada. Across its portfolio, the company's apparel and accessories are sold in more than 60 countries worldwide. It reaches more than 140 countries via its websites.
The company operates its business through five segments: Carter's Wholesale, Carter's Retail, OshKosh Retail, OshKosh Wholesale, and International. Following its Bonnie Togs purchase, Carter's realigned its reportable segments to include a new international segment to house its Canadian operations, existing international wholesale business, and royalty income from its international licensees.
Under its Carter's brand, it designs, source, and market a broad array of products, primarily for sizes newborn to eight.
Under the OshKosh brand, it designs, source, and market a broad array of young children's apparel, primarily for children in sizes newborn to 12.
Its International segment includes company-operated retail, wholesale, and online operations in addition to royalty income from its international licensees.
In fiscal 2016 (January year end) the company's international sales were 11% of total net sales; retail, 38%; and wholesale, 37%.
That year, the company sold more than 342 million units of Carter's, Child of Mine, Just One You, and Precious Firsts products in the US.
Sales and Marketing
Carter's markets its products through the department stores, national chains, outlet, specialty stores, off-price sales channels. The company sells its products through the wholesale channel, through company-owned retail stores in the US and Canada, and online. It partners with 20 licensees to sell the Carter's and OshKosh brands in 40 countries. Its Carter's brand wholesale customers include major retailers, such as, Costco, JCPenney, Kohl's, Macy's, and Sam's Club. Its OshKosh brand wholesale customers include major retailers, such as Belk, Bon-Ton, Fred Meyer, and Sears.
The company's brands compete in the $20.5 billion children's apparel market for children newborn to age 7. Carter's enjoys the #1 branded position and a 14% market share; OshKosh has a 2% market share. Because the company uses a variety of distribution channels, it's able to market its products to a more diverse range of consumers and geographic regions.Wal-Mart sells its Child of Mine line, while Target offers the Just One You and Precious Firsts brands.
Carter's maintains three distribution centers in US and other international distribution centers in Canada and Asia to support its direct-to-consumer retail operations.
The company allocated $3.9 million for each of the fiscal years 2016, 2015, and 2014 for advertising costs.
Carter's’ marketing is focused on connecting with millennials by strengthening and evolving its digital programs to put its brands in front of the consumer in new and innovative way.
In fiscal 2016, the company implemented the Rewarding Moments rewards program to drive customer traffic, sales, and brand loyalty.
Carter's trademarks and copyrights include Genuine Kids, Child of Mine, Just One You, Precious Firsts and Little Layette.
Net revenues have increased over the last five years. In fiscal 2016 revenues rose by 4% due to sales growth in all segments except OshKosh Wholesale.
Carter’s Retail net sales increased by 5.9% as the result of new store openings, e-commerce sales, and an increase in comparable store sales. Carter’s Wholesale net sales increased 2.4% driven by a rise in average price per unit and a 0.9% increase in units shipped, primarily driven by increased seasonal product demand, a new playwear initiative, and favorable replenishment trends.
OshKosh Wholesale net sales decreased 10.4%, reflecting a 15.8% decline in units shipped.
In 2016 net income increased by 22% mainly due to higher net and other income of $1.8 million compared to expense of $3.1 million in 2015 relating to contracts settled and unrealized gains.
Operating cash flows increased by 9%.
Carter's focuses on refreshing its brand presentation in all channels of distribution; geographic expansion, and strengthening its multi-channel business model. The company’s strategy is to drive our brand image as the leader in baby and young children's apparel and to consistently provide high-quality products at a great value to consumers. It also strives to provide wholesale customers with a consistent, high-level of service, including delivering and replenishing products on time to fulfill customer needs. Its retail stores and websites focus on the customer experience through store and website design, visual enhancements, clear product presentation, and experienced customer service.
The company has developed a reputation for producing high-quality clothing for children -- from the cradle through the early school years. The Carter's brand and private-label collections made for mass-market customers offer apparel in newborn through children's size 12. These lines mostly consist of cotton essentials, such as bodysuits and pajamas, and collectively typically account for the bulk of its revenues. Besides apparel, Carter's licenses bedding, toys, furnishings, baby gear, and gifts that are sold through mass merchandisers. The OshKosh brand, acquired in 2005, has extended the company's product range from newborns through children size 12. Known for its rugged playclothes, including overalls and T-shirts, OshKosh items are marketed at higher price points than the company's traditional Carter's branded products. The company is working to boost its revenues further through expansion of its retail and outlet store operations.
In 2013 it opened 21 retail stores in Canada, expanded relationships with its global wholesale partners, and grew its eCommerce business. It also invested more than $180 million in capital expenditures in key areas including new retail stores, the build out of its new multi-channel distribution center in Georgia, the consolidation of operations into a new headquarters in Atlanta, and strengthening its information technology resources. During 2013 the company also opened 65 Carter's stores and 18 OshKosh stores in the US.
The company replicated its US multi-channel business model in Canada, the company’s largest international business, including the launch of eCommerce capabilities in 2014. The company is also looking for growth opportunities in China and Brazil, and assessing the full potential of relationships with its international partners representing the company’s brands throughout the world.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2014 Carter's acquired the exclusive rights to the Carter's brands including trademark registrations in Chile. The company acquired these rights ($3.6 million) in order to freely operate in Chile by offering products and service under the Carter's brand.
The company in 2013 acquired worldwide rights to the Carter's Watch the Wear and H.W. Carter & Sons brands (including trademark registrations) for $38 million.
Carter's extended its reach northward into Canada and added an international segment to its business as a result of the company's 2011 $98 million purchase of Bonnie Togs, a Canadian specialty retailer of children's apparel and accessories. Bonnie Togs had been Carter's principal licensee in Canada since 2007.
Carter's was established in 1865 by William Carter.