Full steam ahead: The North Face Q1 sales gain 14 percent for parent VF Corp.

What weak winter? The parent company of The North Face, Vans, and Timberland continued to steamroll ahead with organic revenue of VF Corp.’s outdoor group (minus the recent Timberland acquisition) up 15 percent for the first quarter 2012. SNEWS explains why TNF and Vans outperformed their competing brands.
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What weak winter? The parent company of The North Face, Vans, and Timberland continued to steamroll ahead with organic revenue of VF Corp.’s (NYSE: VFC) outdoor group (minus the recent Timberland acquisition) up 15 percent for the first quarter 2012.

The results comparatively beat the company’s outdoor peers on Wall Street, such as Columbia and Jarden, which reported relatively flat revenue in the sector for the first quarter, blaming the warm and dry finish to winter.

Including about $356 million in additional sales from Timberland, VF Corp.’s Outdoor & Action Sports segment rose 60 percent to more than $1.26 billion in the first quarter from a year ago. Within outdoor, The North Face reported its revenue up 14 percent, and Vans jumped 25 percent.

The results were slightly stronger than expected “due in part to earlier shipments and stronger sales of seasonal products,” officials said. Both brands were able to offset the weak finish to winter by leveraging a warm start to spring with a seasonally diverse product base.

In total, VF Corp., which includes consumer apparel brands such as Lee jeans and Nautica, reported its first-quarter organic revenue up 12 percent, and with Timberland included, up 31 percent to nearly $2.56 billion. VF’s quarterly net income rose to $215.2 million, or $1.91 per diluted share, versus, a net income of $200 million, or $1.82 per diluted share, a year ago. The bulk of VF’s first-quarter 2012 profit came from its outdoor group, which reported an income of $201.7 million before taxes.

Looking ahead, VF officials raised the company’s full-year 2012 earnings per share projections to approximately $9.45 per share versus previous guidance of $9.30 per share given in February. VF revenue growth guidance remained unchanged with a projection of 15 percent growth to $10.9 billion, with Timberland accounting for about $1 billion of that extra revenue.

Looking ahead to the more immediate future, VF said the second quarter 2012 might be a bit more challenging as Timberland frequently sees an operating loss during the quarter due to its seasonal business.

--David Clucas

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