Patagonia 2011 sales surpass $500 million; CEO explains restructuring

Patagonia reported record revenue along with stellar profit for 2011, and it has more than 15 U.S. positions open for hire. But at the same time, the Ventura, Calif. outdoor apparel company has undergone some personnel shifts, SNEWS has learned. CEO Casey Sheahan provides us with an update.
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Patagonia reported record revenue along with stellar profit for 2011, and has more than 15 U.S. positions open for hire, but at the same time the Ventura, Calif. outdoor apparel company has undergone some employment changes, SNEWS has learned.

Patagonia CEO Casey Sheahan refuted recent layoff rumors, telling SNEWS that 10-15 people have left the company in the past two months “due to a combination of performance management and restructuring.”

“This is a normal course of business for us,” Sheahan said, adding that the departures (some voluntary, others not) represented less than 1 percent of the company’s 1,800 global employee base, including its retail store employees. Sheahan said the changes took place at Patagonia’s offices in Ventura, Calif. and Reno, Nev. and were related to technology upgrades of the company’s demand planning processes and computer systems.

“We’re trying to put the right people in the right seats,” Sheahan said. “It’s what businesses do. Patagonia has such a close knit family, it’s really painful to let anyone go.”

The health of the company is about as strong as it ever has been, Sheahan said.

Patagonia’s 2011 sales were up 30 percent, lifting its annual revenue to a record of “well over $500 million,” plus it reported its best yearly profit in about 20 years, Sheahan said. The company is privately held and does not release full financial details.

Sheahan said the gains came across the board by product, and regionally it experienced its best results in Europe, where sales rose more than 50 percent. Its North American and Japan markets also grew, he said. Patagonia has an additional 10-15 job openings in Europe and Japan.

Moving ahead, Sheahan said the company’s positive performance will allow the company to “give away much more money to grassroots environmental groups in keeping with our mission to ‘use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.’”

--David Clucas

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