V.F. Corporation is the name behind the labels. Among the world's top jeans makers, it owns a bevy of denim brands: Lee, Riders, Wrangler, and Rock & Republic. Other holdings include JanSport and Eastpak (backpacks), North Face and Eagle Creek (outdoor gear), Red Kap and Bulwark (work clothes), Nautica (sportswear), lucy (women's athletic apparel), 7 For All Mankind (premium denim, casual wear), and Vans (footwear). V.F.'s Majestic label offers licensed MLB, NFL, and NBA apparel. Direct sales to consumers are rung up through Internet sites and more than 1,245 VF-operated retail stores worldwide. About 60% of V.F. products are sold through department and specialty stores, mass merchants, and discounters.
V.F.'s fast-growing Outdoor & Action Sports business has grown to account for more than half of the company's sales. V.F.'s stable of popular outdoor brands include The North Face, Jansport, Vans, Kipling, SmartWool, and recently-acquired Timberland, a maker of adventure-oriented footwear and apparel. Its Jeanswear business, about a quarter of sales, includes the Lee, Riders, Rustler, and Wrangler brands, as well as the fashion denim and sportwear brand Rock & Republic. Imagewear, which includes licensed athletic apparel and occupational clothing, accounts for 10% of sales.
The company's direct-to-consumer operations include full-price stores, outlet stores, and e-commerce. V.F. operates more than 1,245 stores, most of which are single-brand shops, such as The North Face, Timberland, Vans, and 7 For All Mankind, among others. It also runs about 85 VF Outlet stores in the US that sell a broad range of excess quantities of VF-branded products. On the wholesale side of the business, VF distributes apparel to specialty stores, department stores, national chains, and mass merchants.
V.F. Corp. rings up more than 60% of its sales in the US. The remainder comes primarily from Europe, Asia, Canada, Mexico, and Latin America. The apparel maker has manufacturing plants in Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Middle East.
Sales and Marketing
Retail-giant Wal-Mart Stores is V.F.'s largest customer, accounting for 8% of its total sales in 2013, and a major buyer of its jeanswear. During 2013 the apparel maker spent nearly $671 million (5.9% of net sales) on advertising and promotion. The company buys ads in trade publications, and on radio and television. Its digital initiatives include social media, mobile platforms, and the Internet.
Continued strong demand for its outdoor and action sports brands propelled V.F.'s sales to a record $11.4 billion in 2013, an increase of 5% versus 2012. International and direct sales also turned in strong performances with 8% and 13% growth, respectively. Net income has also been trending upward and in 2013 it grew 11% to $1.2 billion, from $1.1 billion, due to higher revenue and interest income. Cash from operations also rose, by $231 million to $1.5 billion from $1.3 billion, partially from the higher net income but also from lower amortization of assets and provisions for doubtful accounts.
V.F. Corp. takes a two-track approach to growth: both organic and through acquisitions. The company opened 164 new stores during 2013 and plans to open another 150 locations in 2014, focusing on high-potential brands, such as Vans, The North Face, Timberland, and Splendid, and international locations. In recent years, the gear-and-apparel maker has invested heavily in acquisitions to further build its outdoor and action sports business, which has grown to account for more than 50% of sales.
In 2012 the company sold its majority stake in upscale men's designer brand John Varvatos to private equity Lion Capital.
In 2014 V.F. opened a new distribution center in China.
Mergers and Acquisitions
V.F. in September 2011 acquired global footwear maker Timberland for $2 billion. Marking the biggest acquisition in the company's history, V.F. was enticed by Timberland's overseas presence and its strong growth during the past decade. A year earlier, on the wholesaling side V.F. took control of its Vans-branded products marketing venture in Mexico. The roughly $30 million purchase also put V.F. in charge of Vans retail stores. V.F. Corp. was hoping to boost its outdoor business and its bottom line further through its 2013 bid to take over Australia's boardwear maker Billabong but the Aussie company wanted more than the 526.8 million Australian dollars (US $556 million) V.F. was willing to pay.
V.F., founded in 1899, is controlled in part by trusts established by its late founder John Barbey.