The big names score once again in this, the ninth WWD100 annual survey of consumer brand awareness. With the exception of Hanes, which has hung onto the number-one spot since 2003, there was some significant movement among the top 10 brands in 2006 — something that hasn’t happened in several years.
26. L.L. BEAN
Product: Apparel, accessories, footwear, outdoor gear, luggage, home goods.
Volume: $1.5 billion (retail)
Owner: L.L. Bean Inc., Freeport, Maine
Founded as a one-man operation in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, the company has grown into a global organization with annual sales of $1.5 billion. While catalogue and online sales still represent the bulk of its business, the company operates regular-price and outlet stores on the East Coast from Maine to Virginia. The newest regular-price stores will open in Burlington, Mass., and Center Valley, Pa., in September and October, respectively. The company also runs the L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools, providing equipment and instruction for activities from paddling and fly fishing to outdoor photography.
27. LANDS’ END
Product: Sportswear, outerwear, accessories, home.
Volume: $1.8 billion (est., retail)
Owner: Sears Holdings Corp., Hoffman Estates, Ill.
Lands’ End continues to successfully market its folksy and traditional outdoors-inspired merchandise on the Internet, in company stores and through catalogues, and in about 900 Sears, Roebuck stores across the U.S. Lands’ End is ramping up its Internet presence in France, Ireland, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan, but catalogues continue to be its first line of marketing. Sears, which acquired Lands’ End in 2002, was bought by Kmart Holding Corp., now Sears Holdings.
Product: Watches, clock movements.
Volume: $2.1 billion (worldwide, wholesale and retail)
Owner: Seiko Corp., Tokyo
Banking on its rich history in making strides in watchmaking, Seiko is continuing to combine its fashionable side with technology — after all, Seiko invented the world’s first quartz-powered watch as well as kinetic technology, which uses the body’s movement to power a watch. For holiday 2006, Seiko will introduce the Diamond Coutura watch, an oversize women’s watch with three sub-dials, a diamond-set bezel and 100-meter water resistance. The firm is also having success with diamond- and crystal-detailed watches. The Pulsar line will include a selection of smaller, vintage-inspired case shapes, with Swarovski crystals and a basket-weave metal bracelet. This year, Seiko has embarked on the largest advertising campaign in its 125-year history. The print and television ads have the tag line, “It’s your watch that tells the most about who you are.” The ads target consumers age 40 and under.
28. ABERCROMBIE & FITCH
Product: Casual apparel, outerwear, surfer looks and accessories.
Volume: $1.42 billion (fiscal 2005 retail, Abercrombie & Fitch brand)
Owner: Abercrombie & Fitch, New Albany, Ohio
Abercrombie & Fitch keeps plowing ahead, sustained by strong full-price selling, hunky imagery and a strong connection to tweens, teens and the college crowd. Lately, an urban flagship strategy is taking the brand beyond the mall to high-rent, high-profile venues, such as Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, where it opened last fall, and Los Angeles recently. Another flagship is planned for Las Vegas and next year a flagship is opening in London, the brand’s first move outside North America. Abercrombie & Fitch had an 18 percent gain in 2005 sales, and racked up average sales per square foot of $432.
Product: Swimwear, activewear, footwear, accessories.
Volume: $1.2 billion (worldwide, retail)
Owner: Warnaco Group Inc., under license for North America from Speedo International Ltd.
Speedo has a long history outfitting Olympic swimmers, but it made its Winter Games debut in Turin last February. Speedo developed high-tech aerodynamic suits for bobsledders and skeleton riders using a new generation of the Fastskin FSII technology it created for swimmers. Speedo is also raising its fashion level, and this spring unveiled a multimillion-dollar campaign with one of its sponsored athletes, Amanda Beard, touting the Axcelerate collection. On the technology front, Speedo introduced Endurance, a polyester-blend, chlorine-resistant and UV-protecting fabric, and XD Skin, a fast-drying, water-repellent technology for swimwear and triathlon apparel. Expanding accessories, particularly footwear, is another focus.
Product: Sportswear, jeans, sleepwear, swimwear, accessories, home, fragrance, children’s wear, watches, eyewear, men’s underwear, men’s tailored clothing, footwear.
Volume: $2 billion, retail worldwide
Owner: VF Corp., Greensboro, N.C.
Nautica is on the rebound. Although it still has major recognition globally, sales have slumped in the U.S. over the past few years. It closed Nautica Jeans in the U.S., as well as its last freestanding store, in New York’s Rockefeller Center, in 2004. To mount a turnaround, Nautica this year hired Denise Seegal as president and chief executive officer. This fall, the brand will launch women’s better sportswear in U.S. department stores. It also elevated the quality of its men’s wear, added to the 160 shops it already runs internationally with new stores in India and plans more this year. Seegal said Nautica will try U.S. retailing again in October with a unit in Saucon Valley, Pa.
Volume: $2.2 billion retail sales (est., 2005)
Owner: Wilsdorf Foundation, Geneva
Founded by Hans Wilsdorf in 1905, Rolex marked its centenary last year. And though it remains one of the ultimate power symbols, the company continues to be as discreet as ever. It provides little financial information, preferring to let its products do the talking. Analysts estimate it sells about 600,000 units a year. No wonder retailers continue to cite Rolex as one of their best-selling brands, and demand never seems to wane. The secret? Rolex has a few hallmark styles, which apparently don’t go out of fashion, and it controls distribution with an iron hand. Rolex continues its Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, started in 2002, aligning itself with the world of high culture.
32. JOE BOXER
Product: Underwear, sleepwear, loungewear, bedding, watches, accessories.
Volume: $500 million (retail)
Owner: Iconix Brand Group, New York
The cheeky underwear brand founded by Nick Graham in 1985 has gone through several ownership changes, most recently landing with Iconix Brand Group, formerly Candie’s, which bought it for $80 million from Windsong Allegiance Apparel Group LLC last year. In May, Boxer’s chief executive officer, William Sweedler, stepped down after less than a year at the helm. Joe Boxer is sold primarily at Kmart stores in the U.S. and Sears stores in Canada. The brand claims an 88 percent brand awareness among its target audience of consumers age 15 to 30. In February, Joe Boxer was a sponsor of the first annual Boarding for Breast Cancer rail jam in New Hampshire. Boarding for Breast Cancer is a youth-focused education, awareness and fund-raising foundation.
Product: Bridge sportswear, accessories, jeans, fragrances, home, licensing, retail.
Volume: $2 billion (est. retail, all Donna Karan brands; $1.7 billion est. retail, DKNY, including licenses)
Owner: LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Paris
After several challenging years, DKNY has turned around since 2004, largely thanks to improved quality and fit, and overall presentation at retail. Now, DKNY is on a global expansion course. In addition to in-store shops at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street flagship, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges in London, the bridge brand opened stores in Dubai; Istanbul; Shanghai; Montreal; Singapore; Seoul; Bangkok; Taipei, Taiwan, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A Tokyo unit is planned before the end of the year. DKNY has focused on the more casual Pure DKNY label, adding separate areas for it in select department stores, replete with new Pure accessories. It’s also expanding DKNY kids to include DKNY baby, with layette and other newborn clothes.
Product: Couture, ready-to-wear, fragrances, cosmetics, accessories, jewelry.
Volume: 2.6 billion euros (est.; $3.3 billion at current exchange)
Owner: The Wertheimer family, New York and Geneva
Propelled by Karl Lagerfeld’s high-octane fashion, Chanel sails at full bore. The house even closed its New York flagship for a few days at the height of the Christmas shopping season in December so Lagerfeld could show his satellite collection in Gotham for the first time. Lagerfeld hired singer Devendra Banhart to perform live. In May, he showed Chanel cruise at Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal, lassoing the likes of Naomi Watts, Julianne Moore, Mischa Barton and Maria Bello. The fireworks paid off: Chanel generated an incredible $6.1 million at a trunk show at Bergdorf Goodman in May. The house opened its biggest store in Hong Kong last December and plans its first freestanding shop in Russia, in Moscow, this year.
Product: Activewear, dancewear, legwear.
Volume: $200 million (est.)
Owner: Danskin Inc., New York
An iconic brand in dancewear for more than 100 years, Danskin lately has been beefing up its activewear, which now accounts for about 70 percent of total business. Active styles introduced this year feature high-tech fabrics with antimicrobial and antiodor properties. The brand expanded its triathlon range to include a swimsuit specifically designed for and marketed to participants competing in the annual Danskin Women’s Triathlon Series. While many traditional sports brands have shied away from the mass market, Danskin has a multichannel distribution strategy and currently offers diffusion lines in Target and Wal-Mart. The company is redesigning its e-commerce Web site, danskin.com, which will showcase its full line of dance and activewear.
Product: Sportswear, accessories, outerwear, innerwear, hosiery, accessories.
Volume: $646.6 million, net sales in the U.S.
Owner: Levi Strauss & Co., San Francisco
After Levi Strauss contemplated selling off the poorly performing Dockers brand in 2004 — but ultimately decided against it — the unisex line slowly has been returning to health, even surpassing analysts’ forecasts for the past three quarters. John Goodman, president of the U.S. business — formerly of Gap Inc. and Wal-Mart — has been credited with the turnaround, which resulted in flat earnings against 2004 and included reexamining the women’s line to push it in a more style-right direction. The company’s marketing campaign last year rebranded the label Dockers San Francisco. This year, it’s poised to branch out into more niche categories in the men’s division, including eveningwear and golf.
37. CHRISTIAN DIOR
Product: Couture, ready-to-wear, accessories, jewelry.
Volume: 663 million euros, or $837 million at current exchange
Owner: Christian Dior SA, Paris
Heavy investments in boutiques weighed on Dior’s full-year profits, which gained only 6 percent last year. But the future looks bullish, as the mythical maison continues to gain momentum in its quest to reach the 1 billion euro mark in sales of fashion and accessories. Led by the collections of women’s designer John Galliano, the house appears well on its way. Ten stores opened last year, while Dior renovated or expanded another 22 locations. It now operates 194 stores around the world. President Sidney Toledano said this year has started with strong double-digit growth everywhere, especially driven by the hot-selling Gaucho bag and the men’s wear, designed by Hedi Slimane.
38. LONDON FOG
Product: Outerwear, rainwear, sportswear, home furnishings, performance outerwear.
Volume: $200 million
Owner: London Fog Group, Seattle and New York
Venerable outerwear and rainwear giant London Fog Group filed a voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition on March 20, the second bankruptcy filing in its 84-year history, having previously emerged in April 2001. Also in March, London Fog Group sold its Pacific Trail portfolio of outdoor brands to Columbia Sportswear Co. for $20.4 million in cash at auction. London Fog Group is expected to keep and restructure its London Fog and Homestead textiles businesses. The company is also on the hunt for a buyer. In February, London Fog said it would launch a sportswear collection for fall along with tentative plans to add accessories and retail.
39. POLO JEANS CO.
Volume: More than $200 million (est., wholesale)
Owner: Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., New York
It’s been quite a year for Polo Jeans Co. In January, Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. reached a deal with Jones Apparel Group Inc. over lawsuits that each party had filed against the other in a dispute dating back to 2003. As part of the deal, Polo bought back Polo Jeans, which was licensed to Jones, and settled litigation for about $355 million. Polo wasted no time in restrategizing this division to position it for growth. In late May, news emerged that Polo was looking to shift gears in denim. Starting next year, it plans to discontinue the Polo Jeans Co. brand in the U.S. market, but will maintain the brand internationally. Polo isn’t turning its back on the hot denim category, however. It will instead expand denim offerings in Lauren and Polo Ralph Lauren.
Product: Women’s apparel.
Volume: $580 million (Limited stores; retail)
Owner: Limited Brands, Columbus, Ohio
After struggling for years, Limited Stores pared down its store base and currently operates about 320 units that generate roughly $580 million in volume. A long-awaited turnaround may be taking hold. In April, analyst John Morris of Harris Nesbitt Research upgraded the company’s stock, based on the fact that the turnaround in the apparel division was occurring faster than expected and seemed sustainable. Limited Stores in April tapped Avra Myers from Club Monaco to become its top merchant, succeeding Diane Holtz, president, who resigned. Recent offerings included skinny jeans, cargo pants, and cropped pants and tops with eyelets, lace and pleats.
Product: Footwear, apparel, accessories.
Volume: $250 million (est.)
Owner: Nike Inc., Beaverton, Ore.
With the financial backing of parent Nike Inc., the iconic footwear brand is expanding in new directions to become a lifestyle label. Converse this fall will sell sportswear for men and women designed by John Varvatos, creating its first complete apparel collection. The line mixes vintage references with urban looks and includes a hooded fleece top and military parka. Converse plans to expand the collaboration into accessories and other lifestyle categories. The company continues to grow the core footwear business with new styles in the Chuck Taylor line and has begun offering customized looks. The brand is also part of Project Red, an initiative started by Bono that channels private-sector funds into the fight against AIDS in Africa.
Product: Activewear, innerwear, legwear, accessories.
Volume: $550 million (est., retail)
Owner: Sara Lee Branded Apparel (a unit of Sara Lee Corp.), Winston-Salem, N.C.
The 87-year-old iconic sports bra and activewear brand is dealing with uncertainty as its parent, Sara Lee, works to spin off the branded apparel business into Hanesbrands Inc. But the company is moving forward with several new initiatives. It recently launched fashion-forward activewear, sports bras, bodywear and outerwear called 02Cool featuring performance properties and updated styling. The label’s design direction is now being done out of a state-of-the-art center in New York that opened this year. While the primary channel of distribution remains sporting goods stores, Champion is sold in such chains as Sam’s Club and Kohl’s as well as Target, where it exclusively sells its sub-brand C9 by Champion.
Product: Footwear, apparel, accessories.
Volume: $1.63 billion (2006 projection)
Owner: The Timberland Co., Stratham, N.H.
Timberland’s bottom line has been taking a beating due to soft boot sales and negative foreign exchange rates. In May, Timberland reported a 30.9 percent decline in first-quarter earnings to $29.2 million on a slight decline in revenues, and it said second-quarter revenues would be off in the midsingle digits, with an operating loss of $20 million to $25 million. The firm cited the impact of antidumping duties on European Union footwear sourced in China and Vietnam. Last November, Timberland acquired SmartWool Corp., a maker of outdoor merino wool socks, for $82 million. SmartWool had 2005 revenues of about $42 million and is sold in more than 2,000 doors globally. Timberland is expanding in outdoor performance, casual and the Timberland Pro series, where sales are strong. It hopes to launch women’s wear but hasn’t set a time frame.
44. CK CALVIN KLEIN
Product: Apparel, accessories, shoes, fragrance, beauty.
Volume: $300 million (est., retail)
Owner: Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., New York
In December, Warnaco Group agreed to buy several Calvin Klein-related licenses from Fingen SpA, including the one for ck Calvin Klein bridge sportswear and accessories for Europe for a 40-year term. For the U.S., ck sportswear continues to be produced by G.A.V. The brand has pushed into Asia, particularly China, and Europe. Before the end of the year, CKI expects to have opened more than 10 ck Calvin Klein stores in Southeast Asia and 13 in China. Fifty ck stores are planned in Europe and the Middle East through 2011. Last spring, ck launched men’s and women’s apparel and accessories in Europe, and this fall, it’s expanding with cold-weather and other leather accessories, and men’s suits, for North America. Global color cosmetics are planned for spring.
45. ANNE KLEIN
Product: Sportswear, handbags, shoes, accessories, retail, licensing.
Volume: $550 million (est., including licensing)
Owner: Jones Apparel Group, Bristol, Pa.
Since Jones Apparel acquired Anne Klein in 2003, the bridge brand has maintained a lower profile while its parent has plotted a growth strategy for the storied American label. This year, Anne Klein kicks into high gear again. In September, it returns to retail with a sportswear and accessories flagship on Madison Avenue. The retail plan will focus mainly on accessories-only stores in Century City in Los Angeles; Green Hills Mall in Nashville; Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich, Conn.; Plaza Frontenac in St. Louis, and Copley Place in Boston. The openings coincide with the relaunch of Anne Klein handbags under Dominique Aurientis, who once designed accessories for Ferragamo and Pucci, and footwear by Elizabeth Richard Shah.
46. VANITY FAIR
Product: Full-support and average-size bras, daywear, panties, shapewear, sleepwear, robes.
Volume: $150 million to $160 million (est.)
Owner: VF Intimate Apparel Coalition, Alpharetta, Ga., a unit of VF Corp.
Vanity Fair bras have the highest brand recognition among VF’s portfolio of intimates labels, which in the U.S. includes Lily of France, Vassarette, Bestform, Curvation, the licensed Tommy Hilfiger Intimates label and six European brands. VF does not break down Vanity Fair’s sales, but the 2005 VF annual report listed total combined wholesale intimates business at $848 million. Vanity Fair and Lily of France are national department store mainstays, although sales were reported down. The company plans a point-of-sale campaign for fall and a lifestyle ad campaign for spring to invigorate the brand.
Product: Activewear, footwear, accessories.
Volume: $2.2 billion
Owner: Puma AG, Herzogenaurach, Germany
Puma has been on an aggressive growth path in recent years as it seeks to fuse its sports heritage with more directional, fashion-forward styles. Chief executive Jochen Zeitz said recently that the firm aims to become “one of the top three brands in the global sporting goods market with the long-term mission of becoming the most desirable sport lifestyle company.” In the past year, Puma unveiled a footwear collaboration with designer Alexander McQueen and made its debut in the golf arena. It tied into the World Cup soccer tournament this summer with a multimillion-dollar global ad campaign. Puma has been focusing heavily on North America, and has been buying back its licenses in various markets to gain control of international distribution.
48. KENNETH COLE
Product: Shoes; women’s, men’s and kids’ apparel; bags; eyewear; accessories; swimwear; fragrance; retail.
Volume: $300 million (wholesale), $185 million (retail)
Owner: Kenneth Cole Productions Inc., New York
Kenneth Cole Productions operates the brands Kenneth Cole New York, Reaction Kenneth Cole, Tribeca and Unlisted, with a total of 21 licenses. Last spring, it added sportswear under the better-priced Reaction Kenneth Cole brand, which previously had only shoes, bags, eyewear, fragrance and outerwear. Reaction sportswear, in a licensing arrangement with Bernard Chaus Inc., is part of a repositioning strategy that includes elevating the Kenneth Cole New York label by adding higher-fashion, aspirational designs. KCP also strengthened its management, naming Joel Newman chief operating officer, Richard Olicker president of wholesale and Henrik Madsen vice president of international.
49. BANANA REPUBLIC
Product: Men’s and women’s apparel, accessories, fragrance.
Volume: $2 billion
Owner: Gap Inc., San Francisco
Gap Inc.’s three divisions, Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic, were overlapping, so chief executive Paul Pressler moved them farther apart, lowering prices at Old Navy and raising prices and experimenting with runway-inspired designs at Banana. But Banana went too far with high fashion, and the chain, which was once known for career and casual clothing, became a fashion victim, incorporating every trendy detail into the designs. Now the company is returning to its roots and what it describes as affordable luxury. Banana is broadening international horizons as well. This year, it will open its first stores in Japan and announced plans to enter the Middle East and Canada. The division also relaunched its Web site.
50. COLUMBIA SPORTSWEAR
Product: Outdoor-inspired apparel, accessories and footwear, licensing.
Volume: $1.22 billion
Owner: Columbia Sportswear Co., Portland, Ore.
Columbia is on the march. It beat out Perry Ellis International and others this year to buy Pacific Trail’s portfolio of outdoor brands in a drive to expand into mass chains. Besides Pacific Trail, the deal included rainwear line Towne, Pac Tec high-performance outerwear, surf brand Black Dot Clothing and mountain equipment label Moonstone. For fall, Columbia is offering more functional jackets with casual styling. It’s also launching women’s denim jeans, its first significant move into that category. The line targets active women age 25 to 50 and retails around $40. Last fall, Columbia stepped up its anticounterfeiting efforts and seized thousands of fake goods globally. For 2006, Columbia anticipates net sales growth of about 10 percent.