A strong performance by VF Corp.’s brand portfolio lifted the company to the top spot within the apparel sector in an annual study on customer satisfaction, and also put apparel at the top of list of categories in the manufacturing nondurables area.
Apparel was the only sector to register a gain in the American Customer Satisfaction Index as athletic footwear was flat and food manufacturing and pet food both registered declines.
Apparel’s overall score moved up 1.2 percent to 83 on a scale of 100 from 82 in the third quarter of 2009, principally on VF’s move to 85 from 81 a year ago. VF’s brands include Wrangler, Lee, The North Face, Seven For All Mankind, Nautica, Vans and JanSport. “Other brands” rose to 83 from 82 while Hanesbrands declined to 81 from 82, Jones Group and Levi Strauss both fell to 81 from 83 and Liz Claiborne descended to 79 from 82.
ACSI LLC surveys consumers on their levels of satisfaction with individual brands, which are then either assigned to the “other brands” category, in the majority of cases, or to their parent company’s ratings. The results reflect interviews with 7,250 consumers during the third quarter of this year. Retail brands are studied separately.
The overall satisfaction rating in the nondurables area dipped to 81.3 from 81.5. It stood at 82.3 in 2008 and 81.7 in 2007.
Customer satisfaction is indicative of the desire to spend, according to ACSI managing director David VanAmburg. The drop in the overall measure suggests that, with the means to purchase still constrained by concerns about employment prospects and a greater desire to save, “we’re not going to see a lot of increase in demand,” he told WWD.
So why did apparel move up? “There was some improvement in quality, but what we’re seeing primarily is a boost from value. In the apparel industry, you’ve got emphasis in a down economy on offering good prices and keeping quality the same. As long as you maintain quality and provide a better price, people will be happier.”
In Liz Claiborne’s case, VanAmburg said, “it’s pretty clear there were some issues with quality, not so much the merchandise itself, but rather variety and availability. The customers weren’t saying they didn’t like the clothes, but they were saying that, with Liz now in J.C. Penney exclusively, it wasn’t as convenient to buy.”
Claiborne’s weak showing could also reflect the elimination of Liz & Co. from Penney’s shelves and the shift of the Isaac Mizrahi-designed Liz Claiborne New York line to QVC, the ACSI official noted. It’s also moved ahead with plans to close its Liz Claiborne outlet stores. The firm’s other brands include Juicy Couture, Mexx and Lucky Brand.
VanAmburg points to the success of companies such as Nordstrom and, in the supermarket space, Publix to assert that customer service and responsiveness are the “key drivers of satisfaction and the key determinants of whether you’ll hold on to and build customers. In nondurables, like clothing, it’s all about taste and preference. What we’ve seen consistently over the years is that quality matters more than value for value’s sake. Price sometimes works in the short term, but it’s the wrong route to go in the long term.”
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)