Fruit of the Loom wants to be in everyone's drawers. Besides the basics -- underwear made under the BVD, Fruit of the Loom, and Lofteez names -- its products include activewear, casualwear, and children's underwear sold under such labels as Russell, Funpals, Fungals, and Underoos (with licensed characters). Its items are sold primarily in North America through discount and mass merchandisers the likes of Wal-Mart and Target, as well as to department stores, wholesale clubs, and screen printers. Fruit of the Loom, owned by Berkshire Hathaway, enjoys the largest market share for branded men's and boy's underwear and its Russell Athletic unit leads in team uniforms.
Headquartered in Bowling Green, Kentucky, alongside other Berkshire Hathaway brands Russell and Vanity Fair, vertically integrated manufacturer and distributor Fruit of the Loom produces most of its products in Latin America. In general it maintains its own spinning, knitting, cloth finishing, cutting, sewing, and packaging functions.
To cater to its large North American market, its spinning operations are located in the US; cloth manufacturing is conducted in the US and overseas. Sewing and finishing are performed in low-cost countries Central America and the Caribbean. To serve its European market, Fruit of the Loom's products are either outsourced to third-party contractors in Europe or Asia or sewn in Morocco using the country's textiles.
Sales and Marketing
With some 82% of its sales coming from the North American market, Fruit of the Loom primarily sells its products through discount and mass merchandisers, department stores, wholesale clubs, and screen printers. In 2013, Wal-Mart was responsible for 33% of Fruit of the Loom's sales. Selling products online is a growing part of its business.
Fruit of the Loom is part of Berkshire Hathaway's "other manufacturing" sector, which accounted for more than 30% of the parent company's 2013 revenue. The sector's apparel business, which includes Russell Athletic apparel and Vanity Fair women's intimate apparel, logged 4% sales increases to some $4 billion in fiscal 2013.
As part of its strategy Fruit of the Loom works to diversify its portfolio. Other than undershirts, the company outfits its customers in many ways. The manufacturer markets and sells sports equipment and balls to team dealers. It caters to college bookstores with college licensed T-shirts and fleecewear, and peddles athletic apparel, equipment, and balls to sporting goods stores under the Russell Athletic and Spalding brands. Fruit of the Loom also operates the Brooks running shoe business.
To support the company's growing e-commerce business, it's more than doubling the size of its Berkeley County distribution center -- from 350,000 sq. ft. to more than 750,000 sq. ft. -- by 2015.