Contrary to reports that have appeared in various online trade news sites, The North Face is not readying itself to open up 350 locations in the near future. It has been reported that VF is interested in acquiring the Eddie Bauer stores (350 in number) which has also not been confirmed as true. However, somewhere in the translation, some trade writers have apparently surmised that this means VF will flip the stores into TNF ones. TNF President Steve Rendle said this is absolutely not true and it is a major misinterpretation of what VF executives stated in a December investor conference held in New York in December 2005.
"At that meeting, it was stated that VF would be opening up 350 stores over the next three to five years," said Rendle. "Later in the conference, it was stated that those stores would be Nautica, Kipling and Vans stores, located mostly internationally."
"As for The North Face, we will be continuing with our clearly stated plan of opening no more than two to three stores every year in select markets. And those stores will only open if they are complementary to the business of existing dealerships," said Rendle.
Rendle pointed out that in markets where TNF stores have been opened, business for existing TNF dealers has actually increased, not decreased.
As for the rumor that VF is interested in acquiring the Eddie Bauer stores, VF Outdoor Coalition President Mike Egeck told SNEWSÂ® that he can't comment on any possible or existing acquisition discussions. He did allow that VF is typically cited as an interested party in any possible acquisition discussions when it might involve a significant outdoor or apparel brand.