VF looking for outdoor/sportswear apparel acquisition in '03

During a webcast presentation of the Lehman Brothers Sixth Annual Retail Seminar, VF Corp. (NYSE:VFC) CEO Mackey McDonald told investors and participating media that the company is very interested in acquiring a "middle-tier outerwear brand and sportswear brand" to strengthen the company's position...

During a webcast presentation of the Lehman Brothers Sixth Annual Retail Seminar, VF Corp. (NYSE:VFC) CEO Mackey McDonald told investors and participating media that the company is very interested in acquiring a "middle-tier outerwear brand and sportswear brand" to strengthen the company's position in an area VF is not currently a significant player.

McDonald went on to say that, "We believe we're going to have acquisitions available to us in the coming year" and that those acquisitions "will be expected to contribute to earnings within a relatively short time."

During the presentation, McDonald voiced enthusiasm for VF's record first quarter EPS and gave every indication the company expects year-end EPS to be up 5 percent to 10 percent. In addition, McDonald feels the operating margins for his company are likely to be 13 percent with a cash flow of $400 million, and that will place the company in a strong position for its acquisition moves.

As he has been for the last year, McDonald continued to be very high on The North Face's performance, pointing to spring bookings being up 23 percent, in part to the successful introduction of the A5 brand and expansion of the footwear line. McDonald also was very bullish on the performance of the recently opened Manhattan TNF store that he said has been "very successful" and an indication of TNF's future retail strategy.

One other interesting note in the webcast was McDonald's comments pertaining to a VF logoing initiative, which he believes will further grow consumer and brand awareness. VF is pouring resources into further connecting with businesses to offer logoed products with VF brands, including The North Face. While purists might snicker, savvy investors were salivating knowing that VF cashed in following the most recent Super Bowl, shipping logoed products to consumers with the winning team's logo within hours of the game's end. TNF branded fleece and A5 apparel with NFL team logos? Don't laugh.

SNEWS View: Hmmm…let's see. Columbia Sportswear just acquired Mountain Hardwear. Russell is on a tear snapping up Moving Comfort, Jagged Edge and then Bike Athletic -- with no signs that company is done yet. VF might be feeling a little as though it needs to wade into the pool and begin splashing around too before it gets left out of the party. It currently has no middle-tier apparel brand in either outdoor or sportswear -- a major gap in the company's portfolio and one that has certainly not gone unnoticed by investors. So, the company has two choices -- add apparel as part of an existing brand line (JanSport tried that a few years ago with little success) or buy a brand that is successful but needs stronger backing to continue to grow. Little wonder VF is opting for the buy-now strategy. The market conditions favor the bigger fish that can go on a diet from economic belt-tightening yet still remain strong enough to swallow up weakened competition. But who is a strong enough brand that would fill the bill VF requires of meeting return expectations, accretive in a short period and a strategic fit? Royal Robbins, Pearl Izumi and even Cloudveil jump to mind as companies that VF might be interested in. The question remains if any of them are interested in VF? VF ownership has done marvelous things for TNF, though one wonders if it would be anywhere near as bright a turnaround story without the leadership of current pres Mike Egeck.


Outdoor financials: VF Corp. acquisition and Deckers

VF Corp. acquires Italy-based Green Sport Monte Bianco VF Corp. has entered into an agreement to acquire Italy-based Green Sport Monte Bianco S.p.A., maker of premium casual outdoor apparel under the Napapijri (pronounced Napa - Peery) brand. The brand will join fellow outdoor ...read more


Woolrich Apparel: Spring 03

It would be safe to say that most outdoor retailers didn't really consider Woolrich a progressive, fashionable, trendy company. Functional? Well, yes, in a plaid wool or basic fleece kind of way. Consistent? Umm, not really considering that the marketing message changed like ...read more

Outdoor financials: Gander Mountain revises '03 and '04 results, plus Johnson Outdoors, Rossignol, VF Corp., West Marine

Gander Mountain revises '03 and '04 resultsAs a result of revisions to its FY 2004 financial results and restating FY 2003 results, Gander Mountain Company (Nasdaq: GMTN) reported that its net income for fiscal 2004 increased to $1.6 million from $800,000, and net income for ...read more


VF completes Timberland acquisition, names new brand president

VF Corp. (NYSE:VF), parent to The North Face, Vans and Jansport brands, has completed its previously announced plans to acquire The Timberland Co. for $43 per share, or about $2.3 billion. Along with the close of the sale, VF officials named Patrik Frisk as the new president of ...read more


Columbia Sportswear sees market advantages in OutDry acquisition

As was announced in SNEWS on Aug. 4, Columbia Sportswear has signed an agreement to buy the intellectual property and other assets of the OutDry brand, a waterproof/breathable membrane for gloves and footwear, from Nextec S.r.l. in a cash-only transaction. Terms of the deal, ...read more


Beyond Clothing committed to custom outdoor apparel following acquisition

Custom outdoor apparel will remain a high priority at Beyond Clothing, following its acquisition by 5.11 Tactical last week, founder Scott Jones told SNEWS. Jones, who moves to the role of chief designer at Beyond, said “if anything, the outdoor business will grow with 5.11’s ...read more

Outdoor financials: Columbia Sportswear reports rises in Q4, FY06 earnings, plus Johnson Outdoors, VF, Jarden, Quiksilver/Rossignol, Gander Mountain

Columbia Sportswear reports rises in Q4, FY06 earningsFourth-quarter profit for Columbia Sportswear (Nasdaq: COLM), parent of Mountain Hardwear and Montrail, rose 4.9 percent on an increase in sportswear and outerwear sales. The company earned $38.4 million, or $1.06 per share, ...read more

Outdoor financials: VF Corp. acquisitions boost Q2 numbers, plus Deckers, Columbia, Timberland, K2

VF Corp. acquisitions contribute significantly to Q2 bottom lineVF Corp. (NYSE: VFC) said in its second-quarter earnings call that most of its core businesses grew and acquisitions added $126 million in sales. A 12 percent increase in sales pushed earnings in the latest quarter ...read more


VF Outdoor adds two more backpack brands targeting specific retailer distributions

VF Outdoor announced on Nov. 24 that it was launching two new backpack brands -- Wolf Creek and L8R. Both brands will launch at mass, club, mid-tier and larger sporting goods retailers in fall 2010. Remembering the lack of success with a former attempt at value-engineered ...read more