Fashion’s pitch to investors at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2012 Consumer & Retail Conference centered on omni-channel makeovers, big brands, big opportunities overseas, the high-flying luxury consumer and expense cuts.
And if retail stocks are any guide, investors were lapping it all up.
The S&P Retail Index perked up 1.3 percent, or 7.89 points, to 596.15 Thursday — setting a new all-time high of 597.11 in midday trading as investors grew more confident that Greece would reach a deal with its creditors, ensuring the country would get more bailout funds.
The firms making presentations got their piece of the stock action. Coach Inc., rose 4.6 percent to $76.79, while Warnaco Group Inc. increased 1.2 percent to $56.89 and VF Corp. advanced 0.9 percent to $146.35. Hanesbrands Inc., which updated investors at the conference Wednesday afternoon, rose 0.9 percent to $28.09.
Here’s a look at what some of fashion’s top executives had to say about their businesses at the two-day conference.
Robert Shearer, senior vice president and chief financial officer, VF Corp. • “In 2011, the Timberland acquisition helped drive our outdoor and action sports businesses to represent 48 percent of total VF revenues. And with a full year of Timberland in 2012, outdoor and action sports should approach 54 percent of total VF revenues.…And by 2015, that number should grow to 60 percent.” • “At the end of 2011…we had four brands in the portfolio [The North Face, Wrangler, Vans and Lee] with more than $1 billion sales.…And in 2012, Timberland officially joins the list. We’ll have five billion-dollar brands that, when combined, account for about 70 percent of VF’s total revenues. And as you would imagine, they’re also the brands where we’re investing most heavily to drive top- and bottom-line growth.” Lew Frankfort, chairman and chief executive officer, Coach Inc. • “North America and Japan represent just slightly under 50 percent of the world’s luxury accessories spend, yet it’s 90 percent of our sales. So lots of opportunities globally.” • “Our consumer, what…she told us is that she is feeling better about the outlook. Sixty percent of consumers said the economy was either staying the same or getting better, up from 48 percent in October.…We are benefiting substantially from targeting a population that is primarily college graduates. I think most of you know that the unemployment rates among college graduates over 25 years of age is less than half the national average, 4.1 percent. That consumer is struggling a lot less.”
Helen McCluskey, ceo, The Warnaco Group • “Our business is heavily penetrated in southern Europe, it’s about 45 percent of our European business — trends in Spain and Italy continue to be depressed and haven’t shown any signs of improving. We continue to see strength in northern Europe, in particular Germany and France have been very good markets, that continued into January and February for us.” • “For 2012 specifically, we expect revenue to grow by 4 to 6 percent, that reflects continued growth in Asia and Latin America. Pretty modest expectations coming from Europe and the U.S. and really an adverse impact from foreign exchange rate. On a constant-dollar basis, we expect revenue be up 6 to 8 percent.” Richard Noll, chairman and ceo, Hanesbrands Inc. • “So clearly [J.C. Penney’s] focus on big brands is exactly what we’re all about. The whole shop concept — we have experience, we’ve done it with some other retailers. In fact, we’ve been pinching Penney’s for three years about a hosiery shop and things like that.” • “I think everybody’s appetite for leverage and risk was a lot higher in 2007 than it is today. As the Great Recession came and then we started to see inflationary impacts coming at us last year that were $400 million, equal to our operating profit, we said this is probably an environment where having less leverage, therefore less risk and volatility, is probably wise.”
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)