LONDON — The $3 billion acquisition of the Tommy Hilfiger business in 2010 was one of the most recent home runs notched by PVH during Allen Sirkin’s tenure. That acquisition nearly doubled the size of the group — and gave it the firepower to expand into Europe and the Far East.
“Allen played a critical role in making the deal happen and successfully integrating the U.S. Tommy Hilfiger business with PVH,” said Fred Gehring, chief executive officer of Tommy Hilfiger. “We are very grateful for his involvement during this important time. He is a true gentleman.”
On Sirkin’s watch, PVH not only bought the Hilfiger name, but an international network of retail stores; multiple categories of men’s, women’s and children’s businesses; an exclusive deal with Macy’s, and a strong foothold in the European and Asian markets. Over the past two years, that business has expanded rapidly worldwide — and in the Far East in particular. In the fourth quarter of 2011, the brand grew 15.8 percent, hitting $815.8 million, although PVH said growth was set to slow to a maximum of 2 percent due to unfavorable foreign currency translation.
But last week Gehring was more bullish about the forecast for growth. “Business continues to be really, really strong almost everywhere now,” he said during an interview in Tokyo. “So if this continues, I would assume we should be able to ease up a little bit [on the forecast]. It’s a reflection of the concerns about the marketplace in general.”
The Tommy Hilfiger retail machine continues to steam ahead: In mid-April, the company opened an 11,000-square-foot flagship at the intersection of Omotesando and Meiji Dori, two of Tokyo’s busiest streets. The new store is the brand’s biggest in Asia and its first true flagship in the region. In addition to stocking the full range of collections, the firm is offering its bespoke tailoring service for men, which allows customers to customize linings, pockets, buttons and other details on suits.
Later this month, Hilfiger is set to open an 8,380-square-foot anchor store in Osaka, Japan, and it has recently opened its largest store in Hong Kong, on Nathan Road. The Hong Kong unit spans 6,170 square feet over three floors. During the interview in Tokyo, Gehring and John Ermatinger, ceo for Asia, said Hilfiger is investing in both China and India. The Hilfiger brand is already present in 12 Asian countries with more than 900 points of distribution. The company recently took the business in-house in China, and inked a joint venture partnership in India.
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