Saturday, July 21, 2007

V.F. Corporation: Net Income Down

In an earnings report Friday, V.F. Corporation (NYSE: VFC) reported a decline in net income in comparison with last year's quarter. Blamed on the discontinuation of the Intimate Apparel branch of the company, CEO Mackey J. McDonald reaffirmed strong growth in the other sectors of the company.

One interesting note is that while V.F. brands The North Face and Reef had a successful run in the last few years with Reef's "bottle opener" sandal and North Face's cult/trend fleece lines, investors may be misguided by the strength of these underlying brands. Even with the recent acquisition of outdoor-wear manufacturer Eagle Creek, V.F.'s momentum may be stunted by the lack of continuing growth in some of its more well known brands.

Traditionally, brands like North Face have been a more visible brand for V.F. Corporation as they have integrated into the ranks of younger consumers in the form of North Face fleece jackets. However, it is questionable whether this trend will continue to sustain momentum after almost 3 winter seasons of popularity, and very little product differentiation between them.

Specialized outdoor brands may also rival the likes of V.F.'s brand Nautica, as they close in on the casual-yachting/sailing centric brand. Although still carried by large department stores, it may take a hit from popularity in competing brands such as Polo Ralph Lauren and J. Crew.

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