Although the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High put Vans sneakers on the map, the company owes its current popularity to the fashion sense of extreme-sports enthusiasts who weren't even born then. Vans designs and sells footwear and apparel for casual wear and for use in activities such as skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, bicycle motocross (BMX), and motocross. Vans merchandise is sold in the US by national chain stores and in skate, surf, and specialty shops in North America, Europe, and Asia. As part of its marketing strategy, Vans backs bands through music festivals. The company is owned by V.F. Corporation.
Vans operates about 350 V.F.-operated Vans stores located in Asia, Europe, and North America through 150 partnerships.
The footwear firm is one of its parent's most popular brands worldwide. Indeed, sales for Vans rose 23% from 2011 to 2012, thanks to growth in domestic and international markets. The shoe maker attributes the boost to new store openings, comparable store sales growth, and an expanded e-commerce business.
Internationally, Vans has begun to tap the huge market in China, where it boasts about half a dozen in-store shops in department stores in Beijing and Shanghai, and its own Vans store in Shanghai. Elsewhere, the retailer operates an outlet on Carnaby Street in London as its flagship retail store in Europe.
While the company is known for its footwear, it is working to grow the Vans apparel business and its market share among female customers. Launching a Hello Kitty line of Vans has helped to pique the interest of women. As a way to market itself nationwide, its parent company owns 70% of the Vans Warped Tour, a music festival that showcases some 40 punk rock bands that perform in more than 40 North American cities each summer.