THE BRANDS THEY KNOW BEST
American consumers never forget a classic. Although a dizzying number of brands in recent years have either launched or relaunched, the most recognized brands in the WWD100 survey are those that are as American as apple pie and that have been around for decades, like Timex, Levi’s and Hanes.
A handful of brands based overseas made it to the top of the list, as well — Seiko, Rolex and Gucci, for example — but they tend to be concentrated in the watch/jewelry and designer markets and represented less in the other categories.
Since the last survey was published, in January 2000, many of the brands have in one way or another undergone a change in business strategy, a move often reflected on the WWD100 by a change in ranking.
Luxury watchmaker Rolex, for example, leaped to nine from 37. The brand’s recent push to team up with sports figures, including golf pro Annika Sorenstam and figure skater Ekaterina Gordeeva, has helped boost the brand’s profile beyond its usual customer base.
On the denim front, retro-chic brand Jordache went to 30 from 55. The launch of the Jordache Originals line last fall and the subsequent kitschy ad campaign helped to remind consumers of the brand’s sex appeal.
So whether it’s the launch of a slick ad campaign shot by an uber-lensman, the launch of a new line or celebrity endorsements, companies are constantly on the prowl for ways to boost their profile.
Here, a listing of the most recognizable names in fashion.
Volume: $600 million.
Owner: Timex Corp., Middlebury, Conn.
The brand that “takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin”‘ is always at the forefront of innovative technologies. Timex launched a watch that allows the user to receive e-mail as part of a partnership with Motorola and SkyTel. Another recent development is products for children featuring miniature animation technology that allows the wearer to play games and watch cartoons.
The Timex wristwatch made its debut in 1950 and quickly became one of the most popular watch brands in the nation. Another notable debut was the Ironman, which launched in 1986 and remains one of the world’s largest-selling sport watches.
Now sold in more than 50,000 doors, Timex products also include dressier pieces and watches with the Indiglo night-light feature, which can be found on more than 75 percent of Timex watches.
To commemorate its history, Timex recently opened a museum called Timexpo in Waterbury, Conn.
Product: Legwear and innerwear.
Volume: $400 million (est.).
Owner: Sara Lee Corp., Chicago.
While it remains the best-selling hosiery brand in the food, drug and mass channels of distribution, L’eggs’ growth has slowed down somewhat in recent years.
This is no surprise: The legwear business, particularly for sheers, continues to dwindle as a result of the casualization in the workplace and open-toed shoe trends.
But the brand, which is distributed to some 45,000 doors, is no sleeper in this tough climate. Known for putting its legwear in a revolutionary egg-shaped package back in the Seventies, L’eggs introduced new packaging last spring, consisting of an innovative slope design that recloses easily from the top to minimize the chances of tearing. The container (pictured) can also be used to store the pantyhose.
New products include L’eggs Care moisturizing pantyhose with aloe vera, Silken Mist No Hose, Toeless hosiery and Body Beautiful, a shaping line. The recently launched L’eggs Intimates line of intimate apparel for women includes cotton stretch panties and satin stretch bras.
Fruit Of The Loom
Product: Underwear, daywear, casualwear.
Volume: $1.55 billion.
Owner: Fruit of the Loom Inc., Chicago.
Many a baby boomer grew up wearing Fruit undies, and one major TV ad campaign in the Sixties and Seventies helped sear the Fruit image into the American psyche: noisy little men wearing Fruit briefs and fruit-like costumes like oranges and grapes, the brand’s longtime trademark.
In March 1999, Fruit of the Loom Inc. became an offshore subsidiary of Fruit of the Loom Ltd., a Cayman Islands holding company. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 1999 and continues to operate in bankruptcy. In 2000, sales declined 13 percent.
In a move that stunned industry executives in September 1999, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, William Farley, resigned, further stirring the rumor mill that FTL was the target of an acquisition. A deal by Berkshire Hathaway to acquire Fruit of the Loom for an estimated $835 million in cash is expected to be completed in March, but is subject to revision based on reviews of assets and liabilities and a bankruptcy-court-approved auction.
Hanes Her Way
Product: Underwear, bras, sports bras, panties, casualwear, socks, casual shoes.
Volume: Over $1.4 billion (excluding private label).
Owner: Sara Lee Corp., Chicago.
Few brands have attained the tremendous clout and recognition of the Hanes Her Way name. It is unique in the sense that it is among the few brands that have successfully crossed over from the men’s field and the immensely popular Hanes men’s underwear brand. Hanes Her Way started off in 1986 as a capsule line of women’s panties aimed at discounters and was quickly spun off into one of Sara Lee’s branded apparel stars.
According to the 2001 Sara Lee annual report, unit share grew 36.2 percent last year in the Sara Lee Underwear division.
Geared to the mass market, Hanes Her Way launched Body Creations this summer, a line of seamless bras, and two new seam-free styles — a satin push-up style and a soft-cup style — will be introduced in the spring. Adding to the momentum is Hanes Her Way MicroStretch, a butter-soft line of micro panties in fashion colors and prints. Additionally, Hanes Her Way casualwear will launch a collection of yarn-dyed stripes, spot prints and allover prints in mix-and-match casual separates next spring.
Product: Watches, clocks.
Volume: $400 million.
Owner: Seiko Corp., Tokyo.
Launched in Japan in 1881, Seiko Corp. came to the U.S. in 1970 with a mission, which was to build a reputation for precision, reliability and excellence.
The company entered the market with a pedigree: In 1969, it developed the quartz technology that paved the way for the world’s first analog watch. In the U.S., the company markets its premium Seiko line, the midrange Pulsar by Seiko and Spoon By Seiko, a sportier brand aimed at an urban youth audience.
Last May, the company completed a five-year restructuring plan that included spinning off its watch business to a separate entity, the Tokyo-based Seiko Watch Corp.
Other changes aimed at increasing its U.S. profit: eliminating distribution to retailers that frequently discount Seiko merchandise, strengthening sales staff training, improving distribution and hiring American designers to home in on the U.S. market.
Product: Full-support and average-figure bras, panties.
Volume: Over $800 million.
Owner: Sara Lee Corp., Chicago.
Playtex — a brand name as synonymous with American culture as Coca-Cola and Ford — was founded as the International Latex Co. in 1932 as a maker of bathing caps.
Headed by Ray Nadeau, president of Playtex Apparel — and a 21-year intimate apparel veteran of Sara Lee, which bought Playtex in 1991 — the company is on a roll this year with two major introductions: Playtex Only You, a collection of seamless bras that are virtually stitch-free and have been expanded this fall with one new style and fashion colors, and the Playtex 18 Hour Side Sensation bra, which provides targeted support and shape for fuller figures through a proprietary striped elastic side and back construction. The Playtex Only You national print ad campaign was photographed by Bruce Weber.
For spring 2002, Body Zen by Playtex will be introduced, a line of seamless bras and panties that’s inspired by the growing popularity of wellness, body care and the spa experience.
Volume: $3.6 billion. (does not include Dockers or Slates).
Owner: Levi Strauss & Co., San Francisco, Calif.
The most storied name in the American jeans business, Levi Strauss & Co. has spent the last half-decade in a financial slump. Operational and marketing problems in the mid-Nineties drove the company into a sales slide that Levi’s executives warned will likely continue for its fifth straight year in 2001, as sales for the first nine months of the year were off 10 percent.
Under the direction of president and chief executive Phil Marineau (pictured), who joined the company from Pepsi almost two years ago, Levi’s has been trying to shore up every aspect of its operations. In addition to basics like improving ontime delivery rates, the company is trying to build more buzz through innovations like its Engineered Jeans ergonomic designs and advertising.
Levi’s business in Europe has been one of its strongest performers, and in an effort to replicate that success in its U.S. market, European head Robert Hanson has been brought back to manage the brand in America.
Product: Bras, panties, daywear, sleepwear, robes, at-homewear, casualwear.
Volume: $3.3 billion ($2.4 billion at retail, $962 million direct).
Owner: Intimate Brands Inc., Columbus, Ohio.
Lights. Cameras. Action.
The annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show has literally positioned the Victoria’s Secret brand at the top of the lingerie pedestal. The media blitz and frenzy of pre- and post-show publicity — generated online at victoriassecret.com and through television and print advertising — has created the same kind of excitement and glamour associated with the Oscars, the Emmys and what was once the bastion of all-American hype, the beauty pageant. The formal fashion shows, replete with theatrical props like feathered angel wings and smoke machines, started in 1996 at the Plaza Hotel in New York and quickly graduated to other venues, including the capital of testosterone — Wall Street — and Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. The most recent and probably most ambitious venture took place Nov. 15 on ABC. Practically every community in the U.S., as well as a wealth of international viewers, had a gander at what makes the Victoria’s Secret brand click: sex.
Volume: $450 million retail in the U.S. (est. at retail in the U.S.).
Owner: Montres Rolex SA, Geneva, Switzerland.
Rolex’s name has become synonymous with luxury. Started in 1905 by Hans Wildorf, the high-end watch brand is credited with heralding the advent of the wristwatch at a time when most people were still carrying the pocket watch.
The company has had a number of innovations in the watch world. Its famed Oyster style, first introduced in 1926, is considered to be the first truly waterproof watch.
While the watch line has a dressier image among shoppers, Rolex has a number of sports-oriented styles, including diver’s wristwatches and a style for pilots that allows them to know the time in two zones simultaneously.
More recently, Rolex has aligned itself with a variety of top athletes, including golf pro Annika Sorenstam and figure skater Ekaterina Gordeeva. This year, Rolex backed ESPN sailing commentator Gary Jobson’s trip to the Arctic. The company is also involved with the world of motor sports, annually sponsoring the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races held in Monterey, Calif.
Product: Legwear and innerwear.
Volume: $360 million (est.).
Owner: Sara Lee Corp., Chicago.
Hanes Hosiery marks its 100th anniversary this year, but the challenging legwear category gives little reason to celebrate. Last August, owner Sara Lee’s fourth-quarter profits were dragged down by its hosiery and underwear business, where sales retreated 9.7 percent, from $1.9 to 1.7 billion.
Recently, the brand has tried to get back on track. In November, the company announced the termination of the sock license with Donna Karan Studio for Donna Karan New York and DKNY. The lines will come to an end in June. Sara Lee has also doubled Hanes’s U.S. media spending in an effort to sustain market share without slashing prices. Finally, Hanes redesigned its point-of-service displays to showcase products or trends, rather than lifestyle images or generic brand messages.
The company also partnered with celebrity stylist Debra McGuire for its new Smooth Illusions No Hose Shapers line. McGuire, who works with the female “Friends” stars, promoted the line on a series of TV appearances.
Volume: $1.5 billion.
Owner: VF Corp., Greensboro, N.C.
During a year when other denim brands are scrambling to squeeze starlets into their dangerously low-rise styles, Wrangler jeans last winter were repeatedly spotted on a man few look to for fashion advice: George W. Bush, who appeared in public in the jeans during the period of uncertainty following the last presidential election.
While Wrangler maintains that it currently holds the largest share of the U.S. consumer market, the brand’s sheer mass and focus on basic five-pocket styles have meant that it hasn’t enjoyed the rampant growth that smaller, more fashion-focused jeans brands have enjoyed this year.
The company this year stuck to its classic advertising slogan, “Real. American. Jeans.” The current incarnation of the campaign shows images of the jeans-wearing folk in the heartland, while playing in the background are the opening lines of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s song “Fortunate Son,” which opens, “Some folks were born, made to wave the flag, ooh that red, white and blue.”
Product: Activewear, athletic footwear, accessories, sporting goods, personal electronics.
Volume: $ 9.48 billion.
Owner: Nike Inc., Beaverton, Ore.
Faced with the continued downturn in the U.S. athletic footwear business, declining sales of licensed product and foreign exchange pressures, Nike this year reported that international apparel sales are up 30 percent and U.S. apparel sales climbed for the first time since fiscal year 1998.
After years of trumpeting the women’s business, Nike renewed in 2000 its commitment to the business by hiring seasoned Seventh Avenue executive Mindy Grossman as vice president of apparel away from her post as ceo of Polo Jeans Co. She plans to improve merchandising with more of a lifestyle twist, get more stores on board with auto replenishment and raise the average price of apparel.
No longer banking solely on high-profile female athletes to draw consumers to its label, Nike has softened its tone with ads and commercials that appeal to women in a variety of shapes and sizes. That strategy carries over to the brand’s apparel, which now is packed with more versatile styles like yogawear and maternity activewear designed by Liz Lange.
Product: Designer apparel, jeans, fragrance, licensing, retail.
Volume: $2.5 billion.
Owner: Calvin Klein Inc., New York.
Calvin Klein reached an important point in his career this year, earning the CFDA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in June. It was a remarkable achievement, in part, because he is poised to make even bigger waves in the near future.
Following a tumultuous year in which Klein attempted to sell his business for $1 billion, then changed his mind, and also endured a bitter legal battle with his largest licensee, he set out to restructure his fashion empire with a focus on developing his designer collection and retail network.
The company eliminated its domestic bridge sportswear business and also bought back its signature women’s collection license from Italy’s Mariella Burani Fashion Group.
He and business partner Barry Schwartz are also reportedly interested in buying back both its Calvin Klein Jeans license and Calvin Klein Underwear brand — which approach $1 billion combined at wholesale — from the Warnaco Group, which could potentially sell those assets as part of its efforts to emerge from bankruptcy.
Product: Legwear and intimate apparel.
Volume: $240 million (est.).
Owner: Golden Lady SpA, Mantova, Italy.
While the overall legwear category continues to struggle, No Nonsense claims to have gained some market share over the last several years with a new product strategy. This focuses on homing in on innovative and functional products, while also targeting customers with specific needs for hosiery.
Over the past couple of years, No Nonsense’s corporate parent, Golden Lady SpA, has made an unprecedented investment in the brand and its manufacturing facility with new equipment that enabled the development of innovative yarns and products.
Most recently, the brand introduced No Nonsense Woman, a premium sheer hosiery line for plus-size women up to 300 pounds. The line has features such as a firming shaper sheer, sheer support and a very sheer 15 denier. The company also has a healthy business in nonsheer products such as tights, socks and trouser socks, which have been successful in the company’s “Business Casuals” program.
Product: Jeanswear, casual sportswear.
Volume: $950 million.
Owner: VF Corp., Greensboro, N.C.
Based in Merriam, Kan., The Lee Co. in recent years has walked the fine image line of projecting itself as both historic and edgy by featuring its 80-year-old Buddy Lee character (pictured) in advertising.
In its most recent television campaign, the company emphasized the 14-inch doll’s “Can’t Bust ‘Em” slogan by subjecting the character to abuses running the gamut from an exploding steamroller to an exploding grand piano.
Lee executives share something of Buddy’s indestructible character — in the face of the slowing economy, management has remained convinced that their ability to carefully control inventory levels and their moderate prices will allow the brand to weather any economic downturn.
After considering licensing moves for several years, this year, Lee jumped into the name game, signing deals for Lee brand shoes and watches. Company executives said they’re closely watching these two deals, and if they prove successful, more will likely follow.
Product: Sportswear, licensing.
Volume: $1.1 billion.
Owner: Levi Strauss & Co., San Francisco.
Levi’s founded the Dockers brand in 1986, in an effort to establish a position in the khaki-pants business to counterbalance its jeans operations. The brand has grown substantially over the years, and the increasing shift to casual dressing in the workplace through the Nineties helped boost demand.
Dockers has been a part of Levi’s president and chief executive officer Phil Marineau’s efforts to develop distinctive new products. This year, the company introduced what it called “mobile” pants for men, which contain a number of concealed pockets to help technophiles carry their various gadgets without looking like they’re wearing Batman’s utility belt.
Also this year, the company said it was trying to change Dockers’ image from that of a khakis supplier to more of a lifestyle brand. To that end, they’ve increased Dockers’ offering of fashion-forward merchandise and launched a new advertising campaign.
Product: Athletic apparel, accessories and footwear.
Volume: $2.9 billion.
Owner: Reebok International Ltd., Canton, Mass.
Paul Fireman, Reebok’s chairman and chief executive officer, is smiling a lot these days. And with good reason.
Reebok’s stock price skyrocketed 234 percent last year, the largest percentage gain among the S&P 500 members.
The athletic apparel and footwear giant will keep itself busy next year with several new product launches set for its namesake Reebok brand and from its Rockport, Greg Norman and Ralph Lauren Footwear businesses.
This fall, Reebok premiered the “It’s a Woman’s World” advertising campaign, which included footwear and apparel collections and fitness and wellness programs.
In 2002, Reebok will begin a 10-year exclusive license to produce, market and sell NFL-licensed merchandise in its key trade channels, including athletic specialty, sporting goods and better department stores.
The NFL also has granted Reebok the exclusive rights to design and distribute all NFL replica jerseys, headwear, footwear and gloves.
Product: Primarily casual sportswear, outerwear and jeans.
Volume: $5.9 billion (est. retail in the U.S.).
Owner: The Gap Inc., San Francisco.
The Gap megabrand, which redefined America’s casual code with its ubiquitous khakis and pocket Ts, has grown to include GapKids, GapBody and gap.com. Today Gap — whose siblings include Banana Republic and Old Navy — has about 2,200 Gap stores in the U.S. and 600 abroad.
However, 2001 is one year the company would prefer to forget, with steep comp-store sales declines — down 17 percent last October and September — caused by missed trends, management defections and the recession. Foreign competitors such as H&M, private labels that cloned the Gap look and rising U.S. specialty chains like Abercrombie & Fitch added to the company’s woes.
Nonetheless, there’s still plenty of confidence in Gap and ceo Millard Drexler, given his outstanding record over the long haul. To get the company back on track, he told analysts he’s keeping a tighter rein on product development and store presentation because, as he said, there have been “too many cooks in the kitchen.”
Product: Jeans, sportswear, licensing.
Volume: $779.2 million (50.4 percent came
from company-owned retail stores, 44.8 percent was wholesale and 4.8 percent was licensing royalties).
Owner: Guess Inc., Los Angeles.
Guess Inc. is another jeans vendor that has stumbled financially at a time when the denim category is red-hot.
The last two years have been a roller-coaster ride for Guess, which is largely owned by the Marciano family, including co-chairmen and co-ceo’s Maurice (pictured) and Paul. The company started 2000 on an explosive growth streak and planned for aggressive store openings in the face of rapid sales growth. By year’s end, though, its earnings slipped and executives quickly downshifted the retail expansion. By the end of 2000, Guess officials discovered accounting errors and had to restate previous financial results.
Turning its attention back to the company’s core jeans business, Guess cut back on its non-denim sportswear and completely redesigned core jeans styles for the first time in years. It also renewed its focus on cost-cutting and operational improvements. Still, despite an uptick in demand for women’s styles, Guess’s recovery has been slowed by the economic downturn, as well as persistently sluggish men’s sales.
Product: Boys’ and young men’s to launch spring 2002.
Volume: None currently.
Owner: An investor group including the Schottenstein family.
This has been a tumultuous year for the Bugle Boy brand. In February, the name’s former owner, Bugle Boy Industries Inc., filed for Chapter 11, following an attempted expansion into women’s apparel.
Founded in 1977, Bugle Boy first hit it big in the mid-Eighties, selling parachute pants for men. The company’s volume retail peaked at around $500 million, sold through over 300 company-owned stores and outside retail accounts.
Last March, the Schottenstein family bought the bankrupt company’s name and inventory at auction. The name is currently owned by a group of investors, including the Schottenstein family, who have hired the New York-based licensing operation Group Three to license out the rights to the name.
According to Kevin McCarthy, vice president of marketing for Bugle Boy, boys’ and young men’s Bugle Boy clothing is set to launch in the spring 2002 retail season. Next up for the company: a move into the men’s market.
Product: Men’s, women’s, children’s and babies’ low-priced sportswear, outerwear, accessories.
Volume: $4.2 billion (est.).
Owner: Gap Inc., San Francisco.
Old Navy, the lowest-priced division of Gap Inc., has been one of the fastest-growing U.S. chains ever, opening 734 units domestically and 17 in Canada in six years and accounting for about one-third of the Gap’s $14 billion in sales. Old Navy’s strength lies in its affordable fashions, its offbeat advertising and a popular bargain-basement -priced “Item of the Week” promotion. Its modus operandi has been to open big flagships in major cities, often 10,000 to 18,000 square feet, with smaller mall units, and to create a lively retro decor. A big lift came by recruiting the late Carrie Donovan as spokeswoman after she retired from the New York Times Magazine in 1995. With her oversized black-rimmed glasses and ebullient wit, Donovan helped popularize the chain for a few years.
This past year, Old Navy started to feel some real growing pains, and ceo Millard Drexler admitted that the division got too swept up in youth-oriented fashion trends. Still, the brand is poised to continue its expansion, with 75 to 85 stores to open next year in the U.S.
Product: Luxury leather goods, ready-to-wear, accessories, cosmetics.
Volume: $2.4 billion (est.).
Owner: 30 percent by PPR; 50 percent traded on the NYSE and the Amsterdam Exchange.
Gucci Group NV has seen explosive growth over the past two years. Since 1999, sales have risen 86 percent to more than $2.3 billion, thanks to the Gucci line’s growth and acquisitions like Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Balenciaga.
Gucci has in part used a $3 billion cash injection from strategic partner Pinault-Printemps-Redoute to build a multibrand luxury goods conglomerate. Most recently, its strategy has been to jump-start businesses for young designers like McCartney and McQueen. Gucci Group is also building a retail network of directly operated stores and moving production of all of its merchandise in-house.
Following a 1999 takeover attempt by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton and the ensuing legal wrangling with PPR, a deal was struck in September: PPR agreed to buy 40 percent of LVMH’s shares, boosting its Gucci holdings to 50 percent. In March 2004, PPR will make a public offer for the remaining stock at the price of $101.50 a share.
Product: Footwear, apparel, accessories including watches and glasses.
Volume: $180 million.
Owner: ACI International, Los Angeles.
Launched in Los Angeles in 1983, L.A. Gear Inc. experienced rapid growth during its first five years. By 1988, it was an industry leader in athletic footwear, following Nike and Reebok in volume.
A decade later, however, overdistribution and other factors led to a bankruptcy filing. Things finally started looking up again when in February 2001, ACI International, a privately owned footwear company, bought the company from L.A. Gear Inc. The current goal is to clean up distribution and reestablish the brand in middle- and upper-tier stores, rather than discount channels.
In all areas, L.A. Gear is striving to recapture growth, through relaunching retro or classic styles, while tweaking the look to add a modern edge.
Some licensing deals for vintage-style product are still under negotiation, while children’s wear is produced by Kid’s Fusion. The new look will be evident in back-to-school apparel for 2002.
Polo Ralph Lauren
Product: Designer apparel, jeans, sportswear, fragrance, licensing, retail, media.
Volume: $4.8 billion.
Owner: Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., New York.
Despite the challenges that have faced the retailing community this year, Polo Ralph Lauren has amply demonstrated to doubting investors its dominance in the apparel field. Coming off of its strongest annual performance in its 34-year history, Polo has continued to turn out quarterly earning reports that reflect its mission to increase profits, tame inventories and streamline operations.
Major catalysts behind these changes include last year’s naming of Roger Farah as Polo’s president and chief operating officer and vice chairman Lance Isham’s overseeing the company’s European expansion — a top priority for chairman and ceo Ralph Lauren. By taking direct control of merchandising and distribution, Polo expects it will eventually develop its brands on the Continent to rival its U.S. sales.
Another major development for the company: its joint venture with NBC to form Ralph Lauren Media. That project has thus far included the launch of Polo.com, but is expected to extend to magazine and other media outlets.
Product: Underwear, bras, daywear, sleepwear.
Volume: Over $100 million (women’s underwear, daywear and bras); $17 to $24 million (licensed lines).
Owner: Jockey International Inc., Kenosha, Wis.
Jockey, the squeaky-clean, all-American brand, has come a long way since it spiced up consumers’ imaginations with products such as the Kenosha Klosed Krotch union suit — for men, of course. While always maintaining its family image, the 125-year-old underwear specialist has consistently pushed the envelope with creative advertising, as well as product that is innovative, but basic. One example of the former: the bevy of ad campaigns in the Nineties that featured Olympic gold winners Bart Conner, Nadia Comaneci, Nancy Hogshead and baseball star Jim Palmer.
This February, the company will introduce two fragrances: Physical for Men by Jockey and Physical for Women by Jockey. The company’s marketing strategy for the coming year will be to showcase a number of products — from socks and loungewear to pajamas and daywear — as a lifestyle scenario. The family-owned company is headed by chairwoman and ceo Debra Waller, who succeeded her mother, Donna Wolf Steigerwaldt, who died in 2001.
Product: Activewear, athletic footwear, accessories and sporting goods.
Volume: $5.8 billion.
Owner: Adidas AG-Salomon, Herzogonaurach, Germany.
Following a major change in command, Adidas AG-Salomon is realigning its business to try to capture more of the ever-influential U.S. market. In March, Herbert Hainer stepped in as chairman and ceo. With Hainer at the helm, the company is reducing production lead times, improving distribution and updating activewear.
Stateside, John (Ross) McMullin, named Adidas America’s ceo last year, is sprucing up merchandise, setting up more concept stores, strengthening auto-replenishment systems and broadening distribution. The business has been restructured into three divisions: Originals, Equipment and Forever Sport. In October, the Adidas Originals store bowed in Berlin, the first of several stores to open in major cities. A fall launch is planned for a full Originals line of retooled Adidas classics.
At the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics next year, more athletes will wear Adidas than any other label. Anna Kournikova and Martina Hingis are the brand’s favorite poster girls, causing a commotion on and off the court.
Product: Sportswear, accessories, licenses.
Volume: $3.1 billion.
Owner: Liz Claiborne Inc., New York.
Ever since striking its first outside deal with DKNY to produce jeans and activewear in 1997, Liz Claiborne has been on an aggressive acquisition and diversification trail. Its brands today include Sigrid Olsen, Laundry by Shelli Segal, Lucky Brand Dungarees, City DKNY, Kenneth Cole and, most recently, the European apparel and accessories company Mexx Group BV, based in the Netherlands.
Today, the company’s non-Liz Claiborne brands constitute nearly half its volume. Looking ahead, chief executive officer Paul R. Charron’s plans include increasing business to $10 billion. But he also realizes the importance of sticking to a specific strategy and understanding the risks of diversification.
“Strategy is the road map: It’s ‘How can I extend what I do well to better serve consumers in other venues?”‘ Charron said. “Any growth strategy depends on an understanding of who you are and what you’re good at.”
Swiss Army Brands
Product: Watches, apparel, accessories.
Volume: $131 million (excluding licensees).
Owner: Swiss Army Brands Inc., Shelton, Conn.
While Swiss Army Brands continues to be recognized as the world’s premier manufacturer of pocket knives, the brand has recently honed its status as an up-and-coming lifestyle brand. Last October, the company opened its first-ever flagship in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, featuring the brand’s array of watches, sunglasses, writing instruments, Victorinox apparel, travel gear and its signature pocket knives in a gleamingly modern, 3,500-square-foot space.
The store’s trendy look is a far cry from the company’s origins. In 1855, a butcher-scale purveyor named Charles Forschner started distributing equipment to local butcher shops. His son, Richard, expanded the product range to include cutlery and the original Swiss Army knife.
In the past two years, Swiss Army added its Victorinox Apparel and Travel Gear collections. The core collection has also been redesigned, including the firm’s first personal accessory, the Swiss Army Brand watch, introduced in 1989.
Product: Rainwear, outerwear.
Volume: $180 million.
Owner: London Fog Industries Inc., Seattle.
Refocused and financially healthy, the iconic outerwear and rainwear brand emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection in April. Having shuttered more than 100 of its full-line and factory stores, London Fog seems on course to remain a leading department store outerwear brand.
The 79-year-old company plans to become more fashion-forward by making its coats more fitted and tailored. To that end, it has launched two lines, the Signature Collection for men and the Travel Collection for men and women. The Travel Collection fuses functional fabrics with minimalist silhouettes. The four-piece Signature collection, which uses activewear details, combines London Fog designs with Gore-Tex and Thinsulate.
London Fog’s outdoor line, Pacific Trail, plans to extend its brand with a women’s fitness collection bowing for spring retailing and a new licensed leather outerwear collection that marks its fourth license since 1996.
Product: Men’s and women’s sportswear and related licensees, jeanswear, children’s wear, home accessories, fragrance and cosmetics.
Volume: $2 billion.
Owner: Tommy Hilfiger Corp., New York.
After several difficult seasons at retail, Tommy Hilfiger’s misses’ sportswear and junior jeans businesses are back on track.
Among the company’s problems in the past were women’s sportswear that was too trendy and not enough separation between the women’s and junior lines.
“We were getting too modern and too trendy, and the customer rejected it,” said Tommy Hilfiger, honorary chairman and principal designer of Tommy Hilfiger Corp. “We decided corporately to go back to our roots, and do what we do best better.”
In September, the company shifted a number of its top executives. It promoted Joel Newman from president of finance and administration to chief operating officer. The firm also named Gary Sheinbaum to the new post of president of Tommy Hilfiger retail.
The company’s latest: Tommy Hilfiger Woman, a plus-size collection, which premiered in stores this fall.
Product: Jeanswear, licensing.
Volume: $400 million.
Owner: Jordache Enterprises Inc., New York.
Jordache is one of several retro Seventies and Eighties jeans brands that have been back in the public eye lately. While the Jordache brand of jeans has been available exclusively at Wal-Mart since 1996, last year, the company launched a line called Jordache Originals, targeted at better specialty stores.
The Jordache Originals line is targeted at the contemporary customer, but at a price point of $40 to $50 retail, it’s encroaching on the low end of status territory.
Since launching that brand, the company’s main focus has been broadening its distribution and awareness, according to Michael Riego, senior vice president of advertising. The company trucked out its “You’ve got the look” television ads from the Eighties and also shot a new print advertising campaign, with the tag line “Jeans With Horsepower.” It also produced a line of dolls wearing its designs in an effort to imprint its brand image on consumers who weren’t aware of Jordache’s first run at fame.
Product: Sportswear, outerwear, home furnishings.
Volume: $1.1 billion (at retail).
Owner: L.L. Bean Inc., Freeport, Maine.
Nearing its 90th anniversary, outdoor gear and apparel company L.L. Bean is still going strong.
In 1998, L.L. Bean announced a retail expansion plan to roll out additional stores. The company launched the first phase of the expansion in the summer of 2000 with the opening of a 66,000-square-foot store in Tysons Corner Mall in McLean, Va. A 30,000-square-foot store in Columbia, Md., bowed this year and in 2002, another store is slated to open in Marlton, N.J.
Despite the popularity of its retail units, catalog business accounts for approximately 60 percent of the firm’s total volume. On the cyber front, LLBean.com, which was launched in 1995, now accounts for almost 20 percent of the company’s business. Last holiday season, the online site was the third-most-visited apparel Web site, after Lands’ End and Eddie Bauer.
The company has brought back the Navigator’s Briefcase after several decades, and it’s a top seller this season.
Product: Watches and jewelry, fine china, crystal, sterling silver.
Volume: $1.67 billion (at retail).
Owner: Tiffany & Co., New York.
One of the world’s premier jewelry and luxury goods firms, Tiffany & Co. operates 120 stores around the world, including 44 in the U.S.
The firm has received numerous design awards over the years and has been the subject of exhibitions at the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The six-prong Tiffany setting, introduced in 1886, is one of the world’s most popular engagement-ring styles.
The company is now in the midst of a massive renovation project, being led by Toronto design firm Yabu Pushelberg, at its famed Fifth Avenue flagship that affects virtually every floor.
Publicly traded since 1987, Tiffany continues to expand its reach and has recently opened a new store in Rome, with other stores scheduled soon for London and Beijing. Online shoppers in need of a hit of something luxe may also log onto tiffany.com.
CK Calvin Klein
Volume: $700 million (est.).
Owner: Calvin Klein Inc., New York.
Calvin Klein made a major restructuring in May, announcing his plan to exit the U.S. bridge business with his CK collection of men’s and women’s sportswear — at least what he developed in-house.
But CK carries on with a licensed line of men’s suits, shirts and ties with GFT, as well as in Europe and Asia, where the business was merged this year with Klein’s existing Italian jeans licensee, Gruppo Fratini. Klein had earlier ended its European and Mideast manufacturing and retail agreement with Stefanel for CK bridge sportswear in March. Meanwhile, the licensed CK jeans collection and the underwear business owned by The Warnaco Group, which generate an estimated $1 billion at wholesale, could potentially be sold to another maker as part of Warnaco’s efforts to emerge from bankruptcy.
The CK umbrella also includes the CK One and CK Be fragrances, as well as licensed eyewear, shoes, bags, underwear, socks and hosiery.
Product: Watches, consumer electronics.
Volume: $1.2 billion (est.).
Owner: Casio Computer Co. Ltd., Tokyo, Japan.
It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that Casio, the company founded in 1957 with the invention of the electronic calculator — refers to watches as “wrist technology.”
While it remains a leading watch manufacturer, the company is not immune to the larger economic difficulties as of late. This fall, Casio said that it plans by next year to cut 3,000 jobs, or 17 percent of its workforce. Casio blamed its economic woes on continued falls in product prices and increased expenses related to retirement benefits.
Nonetheless, true to form, technologically oriented styles remain an important category: Last spring, Casio unveiled two wristwatches equipped with a miniature camera that can transfer images to a PC.
Other popular styles include the G-shock and its sister, the Baby G, both of which were quickly scooped up by fashionistas when they were first introduced. Another must-have among wristwatch aficionados is a digital watch that plays music from the Beatles and Beethoven.
Product: Jeanswear, licensing.
Volume: $200 million (est.).
Owner: Gloria Vanderbilt Apparel Corp., New York.
Gloria Vanderbilt is trying to expand its presence in the moderately priced misses’ jeans business, and Vanderbilt executives said sales have remained fairly steady in the months following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
With the economy slowing down, the firm hopes that its pairing of a recognized designer name with moderate prices will help it to weather any overall softening at retail.
The company recently licensed out the rights for a career separates line of clothes that can pair up with its jeans or be worn in more dressy situations; that line is due to launch in the spring.
The company also recently signed a swimwear license. Deals for intimate apparel and loungewear were recently in the works, and the brand plans to enter the men’s apparel market by 2003.
Executives with the company expressed a confident outlook on the years ahead and are currently expecting 30 percent revenue growth in 2002.
Product: Outerwear, sportswear, accessories, home furnishings.
Volume: $1.8 billion (at retail).
Owner: Spiegel Inc., Downers Grove, Ill.
Eddie Bauer is looking to change its image. In the wake of disappointing sales, the company has begun repositioning its brand. Its great-outdoors aesthetic will be downplayed in favor of styles that consumers can wear to the office and into evening, a move the company hopes will lift sagging sales.
To aid this effort, the company created the position of president of apparel business and last year hired Steve Newman, formerly president of Brooks Bros., to fill it.
One gamble that’s already paid off for Eddie Bauer is its new fragrance, Pure, which bowed in September. Industry sources expect first-year sales of the fragrance to reach $14 million. Eddie Bauer Home, which bowed in 1991, is also doing well.
The firm, founded in 1920, began as a single store in Seattle. It has since grown into a nearly $2 billion company with 610 stores worldwide, a circulation of 110 million catalogs and four separate Web sites.
Product: Bras, panties, sleepwear.
Volume: $100 million to $125 million.
Owner: VF Corp., Greensboro, N.C.
Headed by Eric Wiseman, vice president of the VF Global Intimate Apparel Coalition at VF Corp., company executives in 1998 made what could have been a business-altering decision for its esteemed Vanity Fair department store brand: Bras bearing the prestigious Vanity Fair label landed in Sears.
At the time, the move enraged traditional department store executives, but since then, tempers have cooled, and Vanity Fair products continue to be a mainstay in the department store arena.
Among the most recent introductions is a group of full-figure bras called Vanity Fair Woman, which is available in a full range of feminine colors and silhouettes — a tough find at department stores for full-figure women. The plus-size classification typically features basic styles with little or no fashion detailing — and no fashion colors.
The line, which launched in September, features styles called Simply Dazzling, Illumination and Satin Solutions.
Product: Couture, designer ready-to-wear, fragrances, cosmetics, accessories.
Volume: Beauty and fragrances: $680 million (est.); fashion and accessories: $270 million (est.).
Owner: Christian Dior SA, Paris.
Dior’s star ascends to greater heights as its women’s wear designer, John Galliano, continues to flood the runway in Paris with titillating collections. A season doesn’t pass without Galliano’s antics — from camouflage couture to homeless chic — generating new headlines for the house.
Meanwhile, the arrival of red-hot men’s wear designer and YSL alumnus Hedi Slimane has also generated a fair amount of buzz.
On the retail front, the house has proven equally aggressive. It opened about 20 stores in 2001, bringing the total number of directly controlled freestanding boutiques to over 100 worldwide.
Victoire de Castellane has made a splash for the house as its fine jewelry designer, and a third boutique dedicated to her jewels is slated to open, in Paris, by the end of the year. This July, Dior launched a men’s fragrance, Higher, which industry sources estimate could generate $60 million in its first 12 months.
Product: Bras, panties, shapewear.
Volume: $150 million,excluding the Flexees shapewear and Lilyette full-figure bra business (est.).
Owner: Maidenform Worldwide Inc., New York.
Industry observers say getting Maidenform shipshape again after its ill-fated series of setbacks over the past several years — which included frugal funding for product development, piece goods or deliveries and a number of corporate sharks who ate up market share and retail space — was almost as tough as trying to raise the “Titanic.” This summer, Maidenform introduced its Air Curves bra, which featured five layers, including a two-way stretch jacquard covering and fiberfill-encased air pads. Marketing included hot beverage cups with the tag line “Lift Your Cup,” as well as indoor billboards at shopping malls.
For holiday, Maidenform has expanded its Customize It bra, which features three-way convertible strap options. Three new styles are Customize It Cotton, Customize It Embroidery and a Customize It Micro-Tek Cotton Demi style.
In August, the company named Thomas J. Ward president and chief executive officer.
Volume: $300 million.
Owner: Luxottica Group SpA, Agordo, Italy.
With growing competition from the licensed designer sector, Ray-Ban is forging ahead aggressively to reestablish itself as the leading brand in the lucrative sunglass business.
When Italian eyewear manufacturer Luxottica bought Ray-Ban from Bausch & Lomb for $640 million in June 1999, it streamlined Ray-Ban’s operations, closed U.S. production facilities, reorganized distribution and started infusing modern twists to its classic American looks (the classic Ray-Ban aviator is now offered with tinted, gradient and flash mirror lenses).
Next year, the company will launch a new image ad campaign. This will likely play off of its most recent campaign, “Genuine,” which featured black-and-white images of “real” people, as opposed to celebrities and models.
The company, a player in Hollywood circles, recently promoted the motion picture “Pearl Harbor,” starring Ben Affleck, by providing retailers with displays touting the film and vintage sunglass cases.
Product: Sportswear, footwear, activewear, sleepwear, accessories, toys, retail.
Volume: $2.62 billion in consumer products.
Owner: The Walt Disney Co., Burbank, Calif.
Although Disney’s signature mouse ears will always be a classic, the company is looking to give its Disney stores a bit of a facelift. Due to sluggish sales, the company plans to remodel the entire chain within four years. The stores’ new decor will include the addition of video monitors and Internet kiosks.
The company, which opened its first store in 1987 in California, is also downsizing its stores in North America and expects to reduce over the next four years the number of units from 482 to 350, as leases expire .
The company in April hired Peter Whitford, formerly president and chief executive of Structure, as president of the massive retail operation. He oversees the chain’s new store designs, as well as its new merchandise strategy.
Disney Store sales are boosted by products based on characters from new movies. Characters from “Toy Story” and “Monsters, Inc.,” in particular, have reigned as the chain’s hottest products.
Frederick’s of Hollywood
Product: Innerwear, sleepwear, legwear, dresses, fragrance, bath and body products.
Volume: Over $170 million.
Owner: Wilshire Holdings, Los Angeles.
In 1946, the legend of Frederick’s of Hollywood was created when its founder, the late Frederick Mellinger, returned from post-World War II France with items that were considered taboo in the bedroom communities across America — naughty black lingerie. Fast forward 55 years, and the newest items for holiday gift-giving include jingle-bell thigh-high stockings, velvet Santa teddies and Edible Body Buttercream. Among the top-10-sellers are fantasy costumes, including Moulin Rouge, Bewitching Harem Girl, Frisky French Maid, Bodacious Bunny and bras for Camo Girl.
In June 2000, the firm was acquired by Wilshire Partners. Following the purchase, Frederick’s filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as a means to release itself from a crushing debt loan incurred by previous owners.
The catalog business accounts for more than an estimated one-half of total revenues, while the remainder is generated by over 200 retail units and Internet sales.
Product: Couture, designer ready-to-wear, fragrances, cosmetics, accessories.
Volume: Combined fashion and fragrance sales estimated at just over $2 billion.
Owner: The Wertheimer family, Paris.
Founded 90 years ago by Coco Chanel, Chanel garners much of its energy from the creative drive of its designer, Karl Lagerfeld, with the house since 1983. While Lagerfeld’s runway collections for ready-to-wear and couture steadily rack up rave reviews, the house is also expanding its retail Web and product offerings.
In the beauty and fragrance realm, a new fragrance, Coco Mademoiselle, was launched in April. Industry sources estimate that it could generate first-year retail sales in the U.S. of $15 million. A new lipstick line, Infrarouge, also rolled out in April, is estimated to ratchet first-year retail sales up to $10 million. On the skin care front, Ultra Correction was launched in September. It was expected to do $8 million to $10 million at retail in its first three months.
The house opened its first freestanding cosmetics store this June, in Hong Kong. The innovative shop, which lets customers road-test their selections, further underscores Chanel’s sustained vitality.
Product: Ready-to-wear, accessories, cosmetics, home collection.
Volume: $1.32 billion wholesale sales of all products, including licensed goods.
Owner: Giorgio Armani SpA, Milan.
Fashion’s most lucrative designer, Giorgio Armani, has no plans to retire — or rest on his laurels.
The 67-year-old, who is also Italy’s number-one taxpayer, is focused on the growth and diversification of the Armani brand, thanks to a cash pile of nearly $300 million.
In 2000, sales rose 20 percent, and this year, they are expected to climb a further 20 to 25 percent. The goal at Armani is organic growth: This is a company that has repeatedly said it is not interested in acquiring new brands or selling to a luxury conglomerate. Over the past two years, Armani has launched cosmetics, at-homewear and accessories lines .
Current plans include building a joint-venture company with Vestimenta for the production of the men’s and women’s Borgonuovo line, and creating the retail and distribution operations for the Armani Collezioni business.
Last October, the designer also opened a 130,000-square-foot theater and commercial headquarters.
Product: Watches and clocks.
Volume: $135 million (est.).
Owner: Loews Corp., New York.
It has been a busy year for Bulova, a 126-year-old company founded by Czech immigrant Joseph Bulova.
The firm in the fall acquired the trademarks for watch brands Wittnauer and Trieste and plans to relaunch Wittnauer in 2002.
Bulova also formed a licensing agreement with Harley-Davidson Motor Co. for a collection of watches, and the watchmaker has stepped up its international distribution.
In 1979, Bulova became a subsidiary of Loews Corp., the giant entertainment company, and under its ownership, has continued to build up its product offerings and distribution, especially on an international level. It recently created a subsidiary in Mexico and plans to develop other subsidiaries internationally, rather than licensing arrangements, to try to create a cohesive global image.
Last year, New York’s Mayor Rudolph Giuliani declared Oct. 4 Bulova Day in New York City, in honor of the brand’s 125th anniversary.
Product: Designer ready-to-wear, licensing.
Volume: Collection $15 million (est. wholesale); licensing $760 million (est. retail).
Owner: Bill Blass Ltd., New York.
The Bill Blass brand is back. The cloud seems to have lifted from above the 30-year-old fashion house. It finally pulled out of a figurative stutter step when it hired Lars Nilsson and HervÄ Pierre Braillard to design the signature line following the poor reception of Blass’s immediate successor Steven Slowik’s debut spring 2000 collection.
The duo presented a spring runway show lauded by the press and embraced by Bill Blass’s loyal legion of customers. That newfound energy seems to be spurring the whole brand forward. For fall, collection orders by retailers are up 10 percent, trunk show sales are performing well, and the company has increased its advertising budget by 25 percent.
Even with 40 some licenses, ranging from home furnishings to sleepwear to jeans, the company is signing more. Set for a fall launch are a line of luxury baby clothes and a watch collection in development in Europe. Also in the works: bridge-priced licensed sportswear.
Product: Swimwear, apparel, accessories.
Volume: $276 million (wholesale); $221 million (at retail).
Owner: The Warnaco Group Inc., New York.
Speedo has been a leader in competitive swimwear, which accounts for 30 percent of its retail volume, for decades. The brand has 130 stores throughout the U.S.
There have been more Olympic gold medals won in Speedo than any other brand.
Not surprisingly, Olympians, including Dara Torres, Jenny Thompson, Janet Evans and Greg Louganis, have all starred in Speedo ad campaigns.
One of its most famous Olympic creations was the full bodysuit made from Fastskin, a Speedo-designed fabric that mimics sharkskin for a streamlining effect.
It also has designed for the U.S. diving and water polo teams, with triathlete and beach volleyball offerings to be unveiled for the 2002 Olympics.
Beyond competitive swimwear, Speedo is aggressively expanding its active apparel lines, with a marketing campaign featuring swimwear and NBC sportscaster Summer Sanders.
Product: Bras, panties.
Volume: Over $150 million.
Owner: VF Corp., Greensboro, N.C.
Leave it to a name like Wonderbra to focus consumers’ thoughts on one specific topic: cleavage.
Reintroduced in the U.S. marketplace by Sara Lee in May 1994, Wonderbra became an overnight phenomenon nationwide as it pushed longtime national bra brands to the sidelines with its saucy, cleavage-enhancing styling and racy ad and marketing campaigns.
For spring, an extreme push-up number called The Wonder of Gel will be introduced, as well as a “second degree” push-up style called Go Lightly and a “first degree” demi lift bra called Flirt Alert.
For fall, Wonderbra will be focused on “sexy indulgence” with Tempt Fate, a new lace collection, said David Palmieri, general manager of Bali Intimates at Sara Lee Intimate Apparel.
According to the 2001 Sara Lee annual report, Wonderbra unit volume grew 14 percent last year, driven by a new adjustable-cleavage push-up bra.
Product: Watches, clocks, toys, sporting goods, electronics.
Volume: $3.05 billion (overall); $1 billion wholesale annually worldwide in watches.
Owner: Citizen Watch Co. Ltd., Tokyo.
When Citizen was established in 1924, it set out to become a manufacturer of watches “close to the hearts of people everywhere,” which would explain the company’s populist name.
In 1975, the company formed its U.S. subsidiary, Citizen Watch Corp. of America. Citizen is credited with introducing the first analog quartz watch, which is powered by sunlight. Citizen’s other innovations: the slimmest-ever LCD watch, a voice-recognition watch and a dive watch that’s equipped with an electronic depth sensor.
Today, Citizen has over 75 subsidiaries worldwide. Wristwatch production accounts for approximately 45 percent of total sales, the rest being toys, sporting goods and electronics.
Most recently, the company introduced the Eco-Drive Palidero collection for women. Styles from the line feature a rectangular bezel adorned with Swarovski crystals, a link bracelet and the latest light-powered technology, which eliminates the need for replacement batteries.
Product: Full support bras, shapewear, daywear.
Volume: Over $500 million.
Owner: Sara Lee Corp., Chicago.
Charles L. Nesbit, president and chief executive officer of Sara Lee Intimate Apparel, has been instrumental in positioning the Bali brand as a full-support product that combines sensual elegance with function, for the modern consumer who is value conscious. He also has overseen the introduction of a prodigious number of new Bali products.
This fall, Bali launched five new groups: Seductive Curves, Body by Bali, Perfectly Smooth, Body Physics and Lace Desire.
For spring, three new launches are planned: Shoulder Spa, the first-ever gel-infused bra strap that soothes and cushions the shoulders; an extension of Lace Desire, a semi-demi bra and thong in a European-inspired lace and satin combo, and Body by Bali Concealers, an extension of a highly successful shapewear collection in cosmetic body tones.
Richard Avedon has been commissioned to photograph the Bali spring advertising campaign.
Product: Catalog retailer of sportswear, outerwear, accessories.
Volume: $1.5 billion (at retail).
Owner: Lands’ End, Dodgeville, Wis.
Lands’ End is seeing its profits soar in a time when many retailers see nothing but a bleak future.
“The initiatives to reinvigorate the business with improved merchandise that was fresh and creative and national advertising came together to create record results,” said president and ceo David Dyer.
The new advertising campaign, which showcases key products in a four-page foldout ad, has contributed to the company’s increased sales and tripled earnings.
Also helping boost its profits was improved catalog productivity, with gender-specific catalogs, expanded sizes and higher fulfillment rates.
The company is also benefiting from the through-the-roof-sales of hot fashion items, including cashmere sweaters and a line of outerwear made with their new warmer but lighter Aircore-200 fleece. Another hit: Lands’ End Custom, a feature on landsend.com where cybershoppers can design custom-made chinos.
Product: Designer rtw, fragrances,cosmetics, accessories, among many others, all licensed.
Volume: Beauty: $100 million (est).
Other goods: $1.5 billion at retail (est. at retail).
Owner: Pierre Cardin, Paris.
He’s still feisty at 79, but Pierre Cardin is shopping his empire around. Recently, the designer, an innovative fashion voice in the Sixties, confirmed that he has hired several investment banks to find a buyer.
But he is in no hurry to unload — he says he has the energy to head his company for at least another five years — and no deal is imminent. A potential hitch, especially as fashion houses adopt the strategy of eliminating licensing deals for direct control and distribution, is that all Cardin products are made under license. And there are about 800 of them, including bath towels, cigarette lighters, home goods, leather goods, writing instruments, olive oil, bottled water and wine — not to mention last year’s launch of a magazine, Imprevu, the third in the Cardin stable.
Although it’s been a long time since Cardin was a stylemaker, his business continues to generate vigorous sales, and his name — thanks to the scope of its distribution alone — remains among the world’s most recognizable brands.
Esprit Product: Sportswear, footwear, outerwear, swimwear, sleepwear, accessories, retail.
Volume: $300 million.
Owner: Esprit de Corp., San Francisco.
A junior sportswear powerhouse in the late Seventies and early Eighties, by 1996, Esprit was in desperate need of reconstruction. Then industry stalwart Jay Margolis, who left the company last year, took over and redefined the brand by targeting a slightly older consumer than before.
The company is now run by Joseph E. Heid, chairman and ceo, who has helped the brand celebrate its “California heritage.”
This past year, Esprit launched a major ad campaign for kiosks and taxi tops. Heid has also stimulated the signing of multiple licensing agreements, including two with Carole Hochman Designs for women’s and girls’ sleepwear, one for an outerwear collection with The Levy Group and one for girls’ swimwear with Backflips Inc., a division of A&H Sportswear Co.
Three new Esprit stores opened in 2001 in California. Now, the company is planning to continue expansion of its presence in department stores.
Product: Athletic footwear, apparel, accessories.
Volume: $744 million (with licensing).
Owner: Puma AG, Herzogenaurach, Germany.
The Puma brand, founded in Germany by Rudolf Dassler in 1948, has adorned the bodies of scores of high-profile athletes, ranging from Pele to Serena Williams. Puma, today distributed in over 80 countries, originally targeted only professional athletes. But as the fitness craze took hold in the Seventies, the