Volume: $2.6 billion (est.); $4.5 billion including men's and children's products
Owner: Hanesbrands Inc., Winston-Salem, N.C.
Hanes has maintained its spot as the most-recognized brand for six consecutive years. Beginning as a small line of basic panties in 1986, Hanes has been spun into a megabrand and household name. Supported by an estimated ad budget of $100 million with a focus on celebrities such as Jennifer Love Hewitt and, most recently, Sarah Chalke of TV sitcom "Scrubs," one print campaign this spring was inspired by Chalke's own wedgie mishap on the red carpet. As a result, one of the biggest campaigns is the Hanes No Ride Up Panty and the Hanes Comfort Fit Promise seal.
Product: Activewear, athletic footwear, accessories, sports equipment, personal electronics, retail.
Volume: $16.1 billion for the Nike brand; $18.6 billion for the company
Owner: Nike Inc., Beaverton, Ore.
Nike maintains its dominance of the active category. Focusing on dressing athletes at major competitions - from tennis star Maria Sharapova at the U.S. Open and Paula Radcliffe at the New York Marathon to Tiger Woods and the U.S. team at the Olympics - Nike Inc. expects its namesake brand to deliver three-quarters of the growth it needs to reach its $23 billion goal. Spending an estimated $150 million for marketing associated with the Games, Nike is pouring energy into the Olympics in China, its second largest global market, where it also is the top athletic brand, becoming the first active firm to hit $1 billion in sales there.
Volume: $5.6 billion ($3.7 billion at retail; $1.4 billion catalogue and e-commerce; $488 million La Senza)
Owner: Limited Brands Inc., Columbus, Ohio
"As we begin this year, we have a laserlike focus on performance - no ifs, ands or buts," stated Leslie H. Wexner, chairman and chief executive officer of parent Limited Brands in the 2007 annual report. Maintaining its stronghold as the biggest and most successful lingerie specialty retailer in North America with 1,020 stores in the U.S. and 312 La Senza units in Canada, Wexner's motto is "make our customers feel sophisticated, forever young and sexy." With over 60 million customers, Wexner said two million people visit the Victoria's Secret Web site daily, and this year Victoria's Secret scored its highest ad viewership ever, with 103.7 million viewers during the Super Bowl.
Volume: $1.9 billion to $2 billion (est., including licensing)
Owner: Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Omaha, Neb.
Created in 1851 by a textile mill owner in Rhode Island, the daughter of a local fabric merchant painted images of fruit and rendered them to bolts of cloth. The brand's owner, Robert Knight, picked the now-famous fruit logo - an apple, currants, leaves and green and purple grapes - as the brand's symbol when it was first patented in 1871. FTL has been through a series of owners, most recently Wall Street guru Warren Buffett, who purchased FTL in January 2002 for $835 million in cash. FTL's whimsical image of the "fruit guys" has gained a cult following in musical TV ads with tunes like "Daddy Was the Apple of My Eye" with Vince Gill, and "Do Your Boys Hang Low?"
Volume: $3.11 billion (Levi's brand)
Owner: Levi Strauss & Co., San Francisco
Having one of the most recognized names in the industry doesn't exempt a company like Levi Strauss & Co. from experiencing the full impact of withering economic conditions. U.S. sales have been hard hit by the troubled economy, and management is seeing the first signs of a ripple effect as those trends appear in its other major markets, such as Europe and Asia. Despite this, the company's core Levi's brand has held steady in the WWD100, maintaining its fifth-place ranking from last year, and the brand has also remained a relatively consistent performer overall. To counter declining sales among key wholesale customers, Levi's has been making significant investments in opening its own branded stores. In May, it opened a 6,500-square-foot store in Manhattan's Times Square, its 62nd store in the U.S.
Volume: $700 million
Owner: Timex Group USA Inc., Middlebury, Conn.
The brand that takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin' is focused on fashion and luxury. Its watches typically range from $50 to $150, but last year, it launched watches with diamond details retailing from $125 to $325. This year, Timex is introducing the Crystal group with Swarovski crystals decorating dials and bracelets, and the Dress Sport line with etched top rings and numbers on bezels. Timex hired its fi rst fashion trend director, Amy E. Goodman, and launched a consumer Web site, timexstyle.com. Corporately, Timex is building its luxury and international business. It licensed Valentino and Ferragamo timepieces under its Vertime division. Its Sequel unit makes Guess and Guess Collection watches, and Callanen produces for Nautica and Echo. It holds the license for ultraluxe Vincent Bérard watches, and plans aggressive growth in China and other markets.
Product: Hosiery, enhancewear.
Volume: More than $200 million (retail)
Owner: Hanesbrands Inc., Winston-Salem, N.C.
L'eggs continues to be a leading hosiery brand for the budget-conscious but style-driven consumer. Its legwear emphasizes comfort, fit and feel, while providing a smooth look. The brand is expanding its enhancing bodywear products. Its Silken Mist Waist Cinching Shaper smooths and shapes natural curves from waist to thigh, and is one part of the L'eggs Smoother collection, which includes Moderate Control Mid-Thigh, Firm Control Capri, Firm Control Waist Smoother Mid-Thigh and Firm Control Waist Smoother Capri. For its Silken Mist and Sheer Energy brands, L'eggs created Waistband Free technology that allows for a more comfortable fi t without sacrificing value or style. The brand continues to promote itself through national promotional campaigns, including online giveaways and inserts in major newspapers.
Product: Apparel, seasonal basics and accessories for women, men, kids and babies.
Volume: $6.67 billion (net sales, fiscal 2007)
Owner: Gap Inc., San Francisco
Since 1994, Old Navy has offered on-trend apparel and basics for the whole family at budget-friendly price points. The brand has evolved over the past decade, infusing more fashion in the line, most notably with the addition of Todd Oldham as its creative director of design last fall. In partnership with Oldham, Old Navy's design and merchandising teams create fashion pieces, seasonal basics and accessories for adults, kids and babies, all in the brand's signature array of bright colors with great value.
Volume: $3.2 billion (est., including Reebok, Rockport and Greg Norman brands)
Owner: Adidas Group, Herzogenaurach, Germany
Reebok's new president and chief executive officer, Uli Becker, who succeeded Paul Harrington in April, is facing the challenge of halting this year's sales downturn. Revenues declined 13 percent in the first quarter of 2008, impacted by tough retail environments in the U.S. and the U.K., Reebok's two key markets. For the year ahead, Reebok is banking on emerging markets to offset expected losses in North American sales, to generate mid- to high-single-digit growth for the brand. By 2012, in Asia, for instance, Reebok's goal is to become the third-largest brand, rising from its position in fifth place today.
Volume: $875 million (Liz Claiborne brand, globally, including licensing)
Owner: Liz Claiborne Inc., New York
Liz Claiborne Inc.'s long-suffering better-priced namesake brand has a turnaround plan. Under the direction of chief executive William L. McComb, the firm enlisted Isaac Mizrahi to rescue the iconic label. Claiborne is working on a new logo and ad campaign for the spring launch of Liz Claiborne brand women's clothing under Mizrahi. The relaunch can't come fast enough. This year the brand did less than half the volume it did during its peak in the Nineties, hurt by continued losses in doors as well as real estate.
Product: Apparel for women, men and children; intimates, maternity, body care, accessories.
Volume: $6.25 billion (fiscal 2007, including global and e-commerce, Gap brand)
Owner: Gap Inc., San Francisco
This year, Gap extended its clean, classic apparel offerings and took part in designer collaborations including (RED) handbags by Mulberry, a shoe collection by Pierre Hardy and a limited edition collection with CFDA designers Phillip Lim, Michael Bastian, Band of Outsiders, Threeasfour and Phillip Crangi. In May, it introduced limited edition T-shirts designed by contemporary artists such as Jeff Koons, Chuck Close and Marilyn Minter. This fall, the first complete collection designed by Patrick Robinson, Gap's head designer, will bow, signaling a return to classic, American style. In April, Gap launched babyGap home, a premium collection within babyGap that includes bedding, furniture, strollers, car seats and other accessories and toys. Gap brand is also expanding internationally through franchise agreements in Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
Polo Ralph Lauren's visibility has skyrocketed over the past year, led by the designer's 40th anniversary celebrations. Besides the spring fashion show and gala last September, Lauren appeared on numerous magazine covers, including Fortune, Men's Vogue, Architectural Digest and GQ in Russia and Japan. This year, Polo will open stores on Bleecker Street in New York, Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles, Avenue Montaigne in Paris and a unit in Istanbul. It's also expanding Rugby, with stores in Boston and East Hampton, N.Y. The launch of the American Living brand at J.C. Penney, created by Polo's Global Brand Concepts, brought Lauren's aesthetic to a new client base. This summer, Polo is outfitting the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams in Beijing.
Calvin Klein continues to drive revenue growth at parent Phillips-Van Heusen, further proving that the powerful brand - made up of the designer Calvin Klein Collection, the bridge ck Calvin Klein, and the better Calvin Klein white label - was a strategically smart buy in 2003. In the U.S., CKI is rolling out white label units; nine such megastores have opened since last October. It also plans a unit at the Americana at Brand in Glendale, Calif., this year. Bolstering its global profile, it has held major Calvin Klein events in Shanghai, Beijing, London, Dubai and Tokyo, where it plans a freestanding Collection flagship next year. CKI brought Collection back in-house and plans to build it into a significant business again, with women's creative director Francisco Costa picking up his second CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year award in June.
Driven by its official sponsorship of the Beijing Olympics, plus 1,000 new Adidas stores in China by yearend, bringing its door count to 5,000, Adidas is aiming to overtake Nike to become market leader in that country this year. Elsewhere, Adidas supplied the official soccer ball for the European Championships, as well as kits for winning team Spain, plus Germany, France, Romania and Greece. The event spurred soccer sales 50 percent compared with the 2004 cup, helping to revitalize an otherwise slow Western European retail market. Meanwhile, in continuing efforts to protect its three-stripe logo, this October Adidas will take on retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for alleged trademark infringement.
Nine West has been working to become a full lifestyle brand delivering top accessories trends in a timely manner. The brand will celebrate its 30th anniversary in October and continues to focus on its Nine West jeans collection and expanding its online presence. Under Fred Allard, the brand's creative director, Nine West is redesigning and reopening its New York flagship in the fall, and this year participated in Shoestar, a design competition to help find the next great shoe designer.
Product: Women's and men's sportswear, denim, athletic apparel, children's wear, fragrance, accessories, swimwear, footwear, home furnishings, luggage, men's tailored clothing.
Volume: $1.88 billion
Owner: Apax Partners, Amsterdam
Tommy Hilfiger Group postponed its plan to go public this year, and instead made a deal to become exclusive with Macy's in the U.S. After years of trying to turn around the brand's American business, which makes up about 35 percent of revenues, the firm saw an uptick in U.S. growth, with a 7 percent increase in its own retail comps and double-digit growth at Macy's. The brand will be getting favorite-child status with Macy's, reaping advantages that include cooperative advertising and bigger, more prominent real estate in updated in-store shops.
Product: Footwear, active apparel, accessories, retail, exercise equipment.
Volume: $995 million, U.S. sales; $1.63 billion worldwide
Owner: New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc., Boston
The 102-year-old New Balance is making the leap from cult running brand to a true competitor in the athletic arena. The brand launched its biggest global ad campaign, with triple the media spend, a year after Rob DeMartini took over as chief executive officer. In December 2007, the company acquired Vital Apparel Group, a New York-based maker of activewear, helping New Balance accelerate its apparel growth.
Product: Full-figure, full-busted, full-support and average-figure bras; underwear.
Volume: $500 million (U.S. sales)
Owner: Hanesbrands Inc., Winston-Salem, N.C.
Brand loyalty has played a huge success in the evolution of Playtex as a mature brand with a fiercely loyal consumer base. Singled out by Kevin D. Hall, Hanesbrands' executive vice president and chief marketing officer, as among the company's "top brands," Playtex has aggressively supported its new multimedia "Girl Talk" ad campaign, which has a humorous twist and candid information about great-fitting bras. To capture a younger audience, Playtex has extended into social media this year, launching video views in the sponsor category of YouTube.com.
Volume: $2.5 billion (est. retail, including licenses)
Owner: LVMH Moët Henessey Louis Vuitton, Paris
Approaching its 20th anniversary next year, DKNY is in a growth spurt. In addition to strong seasons at retail, Donna Karan international has been expanding the brand's global retail network, especially in markets like Asia and the Middle East. It signed a global licensing agreement with Maidenform Inc. for intimate apparel, and with The Komar Co. for sleepwear, robes and loungewear. DKI added a golf license with Jamie Sadock, and licensed Parigi Group Ltd. to develop children's wear for the U.S. But the most significant launch this year is DKNYC, which will bring Karans urban style to better floors of Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Lord & Taylor and Dillard's. Sources say bookings have exceeded expectations for the launch. Simultaneously, DKNY is adding a men's better line with Gray Label sportswear licensed to Liz Claiborne.
Volume: $180 million to $200 million (est., women's innerwear; $30 million, licensing)
Owner: Jockey International Inc., Kenosha, Wis.
Founded in 1876 by Samuel T. Cooper, privately owned Jockey is a leading manufacturer and marketer of innerwear sold in department and specialty stores in more than 120 countries. Jockey is aggressively pursuing younger consumers. To get in touch with the YouTube generation, it launched the jockeyunderwars.com Web site. A big success for the company, it is a fun online tournament encouraging "UnderWarriors" to submit videos of themselves dancing in their underwear.