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VF Opens Chinese Distribution Center

Company invests $60 million, takes option to allow for expansion.

VF Corp. has consolidated its distribution operations in China into a single, 915,000-square-foot facility designed to help it reach $1 billion in sales in the country by 2017.

The new distribution center is in Kunshan, just outside Shanghai, and is LEED Bronze certified for its low carbon footprint. Developed at a cost of 372 million yuan, or about $60 million at current exchange, it represents VF’s largest infrastructure investment in China.

When fully operational, it will employ 400 people and be capable of processing 30 million units of product a year.

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The Kunshan center replaces smaller facilities located throughout the country that VF intends to phase out. VF has acquired the option to develop land adjacent to the new distribution center should its future needs require it.

“With the expectation that our business in China will nearly double during the next four years, this represents a significant milestone in our ability to manage long-term costs and inventories, while providing measurable increases in speed-to-market for both our customers and consumers,” said Eric Wiseman, chairman, president and chief executive officer of VF, who attended the dedication ceremony in Kunshan on Thursday.

VF’s 2013 revenues in China exceeded $500 million and, as part of the company’s five-year plan, are expected to hit nearly $1 billion by 2017. VF brands distributed in China include The North Face, Lee, Vans, Timberland, Kipling, Seven For All Mankind, Wrangler and Nautica.

In the past year, VF has added distribution centers in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium; Mexico City; Los Angeles and Hackleburg, Ala. The Hackleburg facility replaced one on the same site that was destroyed by a tornado in April 2011.