This is a continuation of the WWD 100. For the article’s introduction, please refer to Part 1.
Product: Men’s sportswear and jeans, women’s jeans, boys’ wear, licensing.
Volume: $692 million
Owner: Nautica Enterprises Inc., New York.
Nautica Enterprises is riding some rough waves as it battles an investor group that this month bought a 3.1 percent stake in the company and is asking shareholders to replace three of Nautica’s directors with its own nominees. The group criticized Nautica’s failed effort to build its European business in-house and its under-performing retail operation at Rockefeller Center. The group said it would like Nautica to terminate its stockholder rights plan that makes a takeover more difficult and it also wants the company to explore ways to increase shareholder value, including a possible sale or merger.
In other news, the company in May signed a two-year deal with volleyball players Elaine Youngs and Misty May, who under the terms of the deal, will both be decked out in Nautica swimwear when they compete in tournaments.
Product: Jeanswear, licensing.
Volume: $490 million
Owner: Jordache Enterprises Inc., New York.
While some fashion observers may think of it as a nostalgia brand, the irony of the Jordache brand is that its current target customers — junior shoppers — are too young to remember its salad days in the early Eighties.
The Jordache label today is sold exclusively at Wal-Mart stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and produced by Jordache Enterprises Inc. But the brand extends beyond Wal-Mart, albeit with a different name. In 2000, the company jumped back into the department store market with a higher-priced brand called Jordache Originals. That strategy has since been refined: The Originals label has been changed to Vintage 79 with “By Jordache” appearing in tiny letters on the buttons and labels. The thinking is to better differentiate the brand — which now carries an average retail price tag of $100 and is sold in specialty stores — from its lower-priced sibling.
Product: Footwear, apparel, accessories.
Volume: $1.2 billion
Owner: The Timberland Co., Stratham, N.H.
Timberland continues to strike gold with its take on the rugged side of casual style, including footwear, apparel and accessories. Overall revenues were up 20 percent for the first quarter this year. President and ceo Jeffrey Swartz attributed growth to the company’s domestic boot business, and the men’s and women’s casual footwear divisions.
Last year, Timberland debuted a new specialty store design in Freehold, N.J. The 1,500-square-foot prototype features natural and earth-friendly materials such as bamboo flooring and recycled barn wood for displays, as well as the same glove leather found in Timberland boots for fixtures.
The company is slowly expanding its women’s offerings, which are mostly found on its Web site and in Europe, to more U.S. stores. Fashion items include cotton anoraks, classic cotton striped shirts and leather sandals.
Product: Watches, jewelry.
Volume: $531.6 million (est. worldwide sales).
Owner: The Swatch Group Ltd, Biel, Switzerland.
Since it landed on the radar of the watch-wearing style-conscious public 20 years ago, Swatch has been pushing the envelope in terms of fashion and function.
Swatch, like many watchmakers, is active in the world of sports, whether it’s sponsorship of events or pieces aimed at athletically inclined individuals. It produces, for example, the Swatch Beat, which features a built-in access control that can be used as a ski pass at resorts worldwide. Basketball great Shaquille O’Neal has designed two Swatch Irony watches that were launched this month. The Swatch jewelry collection, which launched about two and a half years ago, includes chunky rings, cross necklaces and bangle bracelets with geometric patterns and fluid necklaces.
55. THE LIMITED
Product: Sportswear, accessories.
Volume: $638 million (at retail).
Owner: Limited Brands, Columbus, Ohio.
The Limited stores has long been overshadowed by its flashier siblings, including Victoria’s Secret and Express. The unit has been bleeding a flood of red ink since the mid-Nineties, and had an estimated loss of around $60 million in 2001. The company hired Jeffrey Sherman, the former chairman and ceo of Federated Direct and former Bloomingdale’s president, who took on the challenge of reinvigorating Limited stores in March 2002. Sherman seems to have his work cut out for him. The chain’s comparable-store sales declined 5 percent in the first quarter ended May 3.
At its peak in the early Nineties, Limited stores had close to 800 units, compared with 348 stores as of March. On the positive side, average sales per square foot rose from $259 in 2000 to $284 last year.
56. OSCAR DE LA RENTA
Product: Designer ready-to-wear, accessories, licensing.
Volume: $50 million collection (est. wholesale) and $550 million from licensing (est. retail).
Owner: Oscar de la Renta Ltd., New York.
Oscar de la Renta may be best-known for his elaborate evening gowns and perfectly tailored suits, but the brand has seen success in creating must-haves for a slightly younger customer in recent collections.
The broader assortment of merchandise has helped push trunk-show sales past the $2 million mark at Bergdorf Goodman with its past two fall collections.
The brand has also added another fragrance, Intrusion, which made its debut last fall, to its successful group of perfumes licensed to YSL Beauté. While rumors have circulated in the market that de la Renta would like to create a line priced lower than his signature and licensed bridge collections, no deal has yet come to fruition. Nor has a first retail store, a topic the designer has spoken openly about in the past.
57. L.A. GEAR
Product: Footwear, apparel, accessories, eyewear.
Volume: $200 million
Owner: ACI International, Los Angeles.
With a new multimillion-dollar ad campaign set to break around holiday and a retooled fashion focus that includes more edgy and techno-inspired fashion items that harmonize with an athletic aesthetic, L.A. Gear is making an intensified play for its target demographic: 18- to 32-year-old women and men who are drawn to the brand’s retro-chic appeal.
ACI International — which in February 2001 purchased bankrupt L.A. Gear Inc. — stepped back in time this past holiday season when it relaunched So L.A., a sub-brand that had been off the market for about five years. The line, targeted at juniors, is focused more on style than actual athletic use and is not as widely distributed as the brand’s other lines, giving it a bit of cachet.
58. ANN TAYLOR
Product: Sportswear and accessories retailer.
Volume: $1.38 billion (at retail).
Owner: Ann Taylor Stores Corp., New York.
Despite enduring difficulties, the Ann Taylor name still holds up and has maintained a loyal following, principally among professional women. They’ve been coming back to the store, but buying less, since product offerings have been off and on, lacking in sophistication at times. First-quarter profits sank 14.3 percent, and fashion misses at Ann Taylor stores are expected to continue through much of the second quarter. Frequent management turnover hasn’t helped the company’s cause, though it’s looking to Jerome Jessup, recently named senior executive vice president for merchandise and design and the highest-ranking exec at the Ann Taylor Stores division, to turn things around. He’s got strong product expertise, last serving as executive vice president of product development and design for Gap, Gap Kids, Baby Gap and Gap Body. Prior to that, he was responsible for product development and design at Banana Republic.
59. LOONEY TUNES/WARNER BROS.
Product: Apparel, accessories, footwear, outerwear, gift and novelty, stationery, home products and toys.
Volume: $6 billion worldwide (at retail).
Owner: AOL Time Warner, New York.
Looney Tunes is back in action — literally. While Warner Bros. shuttered all of its freestanding company stores in the U.S., the company is maintaining its stride in the consumer products division, in which the Looney Tunes brand is a major player. Under the direction of Dan Romanelli, president of Warner Bros. Worldwide Consumer Products, the brand has developed relationships with retailers including Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, J.C. Penney, Sears and Kohl’s. In November, the Looney Tunes division and Warner Bros. films will release “Looney Tunes: Back in Action,” featuring the famed band of Looney Tuners alongside a star-studded human cast including Brendan Fraser, Jenna Elfman, Heather Locklear and Steve Martin. A full product line of apparel and gift items will launch to support the movie. Mattel, the toy licensee for the Looney Tunes brand, has created a new line inspired by the upcoming film.
60. ABERCROMBIE & FITCH
Product: Teen and children’s apparel, accessories.
Volume: $1.6 billion (at retail).
Owner: Abercrombie & Fitch, New Albany, Ohio.
This American lifestyle brand has left an indelible mark on the teen consumer market with its racy ads featuring half-naked adolescents and unapologetic sexual overtones. Abercrombie & Fitch comprises three apparel divisions. Abercrombie & Fitch targets college kids, while abercrombie, which was introduced in 1997, is its children’s line. The company’s Hollister concept stores, introduced in July 2000, target 14- to 18-year-olds and espouse a California-surf style. In addition, the firm also is planning to open another concept store for a slightly more mature shopper, the details of which have not been disclosed. Abercrombie & Fitch has 608 stores — 344 are Abercrombie & Fitch; 166 are abercrombie stores and 98 are Hollister Co. stores. A&F also publishes the A&F Quarterly — a racy magalog.
61. B.U.M. EQUIPMENT
Product: Licensed sportswear, sleepwear, footwear, outerwear, swimwear, accessories.
Volume: $600 million (at retail).
Owner: SOS Management, Mendham, N.J.
B.U.M. Equipment LLC was bought for $25 million by SOS Management in December and is helmed by Stephen Wayne, chairman and director of licensing and Steve Marra, chairman and director of merchandising.
B.U.M. is purely a licensing company, that supplies licensees with merchandising direction and marketing and advertising support. Ad campaigns run quarterly in teen, young men’s and other magazines such as Seventeen, Jane and Elle. The company spends some of its promotional dollars outfitting sports celebrities — including boxers Laila Ali, Derrick Harmon and Hector Comacho Jr. — that endorse the B.U.M. Equipment lifestyle. It is also involved in a sponsorship deal with Major League Baseball and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
62. CHRISTIAN DIOR
Product: Couture, ready-to-wear, fragrances, cosmetics, accessories.
Volume: $1 billion (beauty and fragrances), $535.6 million (fashion and accessories).
Owner: Christian Dior SA, Paris.
Dior’s star continues to blaze under the guidance of its couturier and women’s wear designer, John Galliano. Season after season, Galliano manages to generate headlines with his runway extravaganzas. For 2002, sales at Dior rocketed 41 percent compared with the year-earlier period. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton boss Bernard Arnault, expects the fashion side to reach the coveted $1 billion mark in sales over the next three to four years. Categories such as footwear and accessories have been key drivers at Dior, with footwear sales tripling in 2002.
Expanding the retail network continues to be a top priority. In 2002, Dior added 28 units, bringing its store count to 144 locations. This year, another 20-plus boutiques are slated. Meanwhile, Dior’s men’s designer Hedi Slimane has continued to generate buzz, as has fine jewelry designer Victoire de Castellane.
63. BUGLE BOY
Product: Young men’s and boys’ apparel, accessories.
Volume: $500 million
Owner: Schottenstein Stores, Columbus, Ohio.
Founded in 1977, Bugle Boy began as a denim brand that made it big in the mid-Eighties, not with jeans but one of that decade’s big style statements: parachute pants. The company has been through the wringer since then, declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2001 after the launch of a women’s line ended up failing at retail. Two months later, wholesale operations were purchased by the Columbus, Ohio-based Schottenstein Stores, which holds interests in a host of retailers, including Filene’s and American Eagle Outfitters, for $68.6 million.
Relaunched last year, the brand now seems to be back on track. According to executives at Bugle Boy, they plan to stick to its roots and, not surprisingly, forego launching women’s wear again. Besides apparel, Bugle Boy makes hats, backpacks and socks, with plans to add footwear and a casual dress line to the fold this year.
64. GLORIA VANDERBILT
Product: Jeanswear, sportswear, licensing.
Volume: $500 million (including licensing).
Owner: Jones Apparel Group Inc., New York.
Gloria Vanderbilt last year was scooped up by Jones Apparel Group Inc., and since then the company has taken back control of the Gloria Vanderbilt careerwear label and launched a Gloria sub-brand targeted at contemporary shoppers. In the meantime, the legendary brand has continued to attract shoppers with its flagship line and Glo junior collection.
The Gloria Vanderbilt portfolio covers the spectrum for moderate-priced jeanswear. Gloria, in particular, is an attempt to build a new category: moderate-priced contemporary jeans. The company said that with Jones’ backing, it plans further brand extensions, including a line of higher-priced jeans targeting the core department-store market. In March The Amerex Group signed a licensing deal with Jones to produce a line of outerwear and rainwear under the Gloria Vanderbilt and Glo labels.
Product: Textiles, apparel..
Volume: $300 million for Samsung America, Inc. (dollar figures converted from the Korean won at current exchange rates).
Owner: Samsung Group of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
Samsung’s better known here as a maker of sleekly designed cell phones and other electronics goods, the Samsung Group textile, chemical and fashion manufacturing interests are growing quietly but methodically across the globe. Samsung America, Inc., the textile- and apparel-focused U.S. division of the $33.8 billion electronics giant, serves as manufacturer and distributor of the $400 million brand Fubu, though that arrangement currently appears to be in question. Samsung America does, however, intend to become a competitive player on the American fashion scene by gradually introducing its stable of labels to the American market, though no definitive timetable has been announced. The company owns a variety of women’s apparel labels (in addition to men’s and golfwear lines), including the Rouzili contemporary label; Elle, a women’s career brand, and Thee, a women’s knitwear brand, distributed in Asia and Australia.
65. BANANA REPUBLIC
Product: Casual and career apparel, accessories, personal care products, innerwear, home accessories.
Volume: $1.9 billion (at retail).
Owner: Gap Inc., San Francisco.
Marka Hansen, a former senior merchandising executive for Gap, assumed the role of president of Banana Republic this month, with analysts believing her 15-year multidivisional background will help BR rebound. But Hansen will have to contend with an uncertain retail climate and a brand that’s trailing Old Navy and Gap in its recovery. Gap Inc. ceo Paul Pressler credits much of Banana Republic’s improvements to date to Deborah Lloyd, the brand’s head designer, whose first major collection hit stores this spring. Pressler has noted that Lloyd, formerly head of design for Burberry, London, has infused the women’s line with an upmarket sensibility and “emotional and aspirational appeal.” Of all Gap Inc. brands, Banana Republic has posted the weakest same-store sales, with analysts weighing in that BR failed to set apart its offerings from those in its sister divisions.
66. FOSTER GRANT
Product: Sunglasses, reading glasses, eyewear accessories.
Volume: $120 million (est.).
Owner: AAi FosterGrant Inc., Smithfield, R.I.
Foster Grant in recent years has exited unprofitable businesses such as clocks and small leather goods to focus on improving profitability in its core businesses: sunglasses and costume jewelry. It has built its business by offering moderately priced trendy products distributed through drugstores and mass merchants. Sunglasses — most of which retail for under $30 — include a range of fashion and active looks as well as styles for children and teens.
Last year AAi FosterGrant Inc. arranged a $52 million debt-for-equity swap and a $4 million equity investment, giving principals a greater stake in the firm. Foster Grant’s ad campaigns have garnered plenty of attention over the years, in part because of the bold-faced figures who have been featured, including Mia Farrow, Vanessa Redgrave, Cindy Crawford and Peter Sellers.
Product: Watches, printers, small electronics.
Volume: $3.34 billion
Owner: Citizen Watch Co. Ltd., Tokyo.
Citizen, the world’s largest watchmaker, in recent years has focused much of its marketing efforts on its Eco-Drive collection of light-powered, battery-free watches. As part of its spring campaign, for example, the watchmaker placed advertisements in several sports, entertainment and lifestyle magazines.
Citizen also produces feminine, dressy collections, such as the Leoness, Palidoro and Modena, all of which feature pieces with Swarovski crystals. Other collections include timepieces with diamonds and mother-of-pearl details.
As part of the company’s commitment to sports, it also regularly sponsors events, including the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, the World Figure Skating Championships and Team Dennis Conner’s America’s Cup racing activities.
Product: Activewear, innerwear, hosiery.
Volume: $82 million
Owner: Sara Lee Corp., Chicago.
Champion might be best known for its sturdy aerobic sport bras and traditional athleticwear, but the line continues to evolve with the times. Its latest incarnation? A yoga-inspired bodywear collection called Body Balance. Among the styles are flood pants, tanks, shorts — and, of course, T-back sport bras. The company has debuted MCR Fit Center, an online fit and size chart on the company’s Web site, championusa.com, that factors a women’s size, activities and movements to determine the most suitable bra style.
Champion also is reaching out to the masses with its first-ever national ad campaign. With the tag line “Greed vs. Love,” the ads are aimed at consumers who love sports in their purest form, not as they’re played by overpaid pros. The $15 million campaign kicked off this month with 15-second and 30-second television spots.
Product: Sportswear, accessories, denim.
Volume: $2.07 billion (at retail).
Owner: Limited Brands, Columbus, Ohio.
Over the long haul Express has been among the steadiest-performing specialty retailers in the nation, for two key reasons. First, its chief executive officer Michael Weiss, who started the chain 23 years ago, is considered among the most fashion-savvy merchants in the industry. He’s kept the Express image sharply focused on hip, sexy, yet sophisticated international styles, and he believes Express can ultimately be a $4 billion or $5 billion chain. Secondly, Express has that rare knack for maintaining a fashion edge without sacrificing volume, keeping focused on core competencies — denim, knits and tops — and turning huge inventories for young urban customers. Lately, the company has been capitalizing on its brand equity by converting the Limited’s Structure division to the Express Men label. Most Structure units will be converted. Currently, Express operates more than 1,030 stores nationwide.
Product: Licensed women’s wear, accessories, home products.
Volume: $2.3 billion (at retail).
Owner: Cherokee Inc., Van Nuys, Calif.
It’s been quite a year for a brand that started out as a shoe and apparel manufacturing company in the Seventies. It wasn’t until 1995 that Cherokee converted into a licensing-only firm, setting the stage for an agreement to produce apparel under the Cherokee name with Target in 2001. That deal earned Cherokee its first $1 billion. Its licensing streak continued through 2001, when it acquired the trademarks of CL Fashions, whose brand names include apparel for Carole Little and CL II, Saint-Tropez West. Most recently, the company has extended its license with Target to run through January 2005. According to Howard Siegel, president of Cherokee, by continuing to partner with Target in the U.S., Zellers in Canada, Tesco in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and Carrefour in France, the Cherokee brand’s volume should approach $3 billion at retail this year.
Product: Bras, panties.
Volume: $170 million (est.).
Owner: Sara Lee Corp., Chicago.
The American love affair with sexy-looking bras and cleavage hasn’t waned since Sara Lee introduced its super-duper padded push-up bras to the U.S. in 1994. The national launch was marked by a media feeding frenzy worthy of a Ringling Bros. act, replete with Wonderbras being delivered to Macy’s Herald Square in Brinks armored trucks.
But Wonderbra has been there, done that, and is now producing bras that address the mainstream demand for a softer, more natural silhouette. Keeping with this aesthetic was the launch this spring of W by Wonderbra, a European-inspired line of bras in luxurious fabrics and embroideries and Papillon, featuring printed butterflies on lace and gauzy mesh and microfiber. An accompanying multimillion-dollar national print campaign features photos by Richard Avedon of top model Nadja Auermann.
72. SAG HARBOR
Product: Sportswear, licensing.
Volume: $600 million (est., excluding licensing).
Owner: Kellwood Co., St. Louis.
Even Sag Harbor has been bitten by the youth bug. The brand, one of the strongest performers in the moderate sportswear arena, is striving to capture a customer who’s dressing younger, regardless of her age. The company’s designers have updated the brand — long known for its traditional wool blazers — to incorporate more fashion, such as flat-front pants and tweed blazers for spring. The company also plans to launch sleepwear and loungewear for fall. Stephen Ruzow, president of women’s wear at the $2.3 billion Kellwood Co., said the updated product has performed well at retail. “The most important thing is just because clothes are inexpensive doesn’t mean they have to be ugly,” he said. “It’s all about interpreting the taste level of designer into moderate prices.”
73. DONNA KARAN NEW YORK
Product: Designer sportswear, retail, fragrance, home, licensing.
Volume: $2 billion (worldwide group sales at retail, including licensing).
Owner: LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Paris.
After a bumpy ride in the late Nineties led to a downturn in the designer’s collection, Karan’s fortunes have started to turn around and the company is aiming to reach $100 million in wholesale volume within a few years.
She was handsomely rewarded by a secretive deal to sell the once publicly traded company to LVMH in 2001, but the new relationship was marred by some initial disagreements and rumors that Karan was being forced out — that is, until Fred Wilson was named chief executive officer last September. He quickly named a new president of collection, Melissa Parker-Lilly, initiated some operational improvements to the business, such as offering saleable pre-season collections a month ahead of the runways show to better accommodate retailers. Peter Speliopoulos also returned to the company as vice president and design director for the Donna Karan New York brand.
74. PUMA AG
Product: Athletic footwear, apparel, accessories.
Volume: $1.4 billion
Owner: Puma AG, Herzogenaurach, Germany.
Perhaps no other athletic brand has made the transition from locker rooms to stylists’ closets better than Puma, because of a few notable celeb associations. Serena Williams’ dominance on the women’s pro tennis circuit and her spotlight in the fashion arena have helped put a more modern sheen on the 55-year-old label. With her contract under negotiation at press time, it remains to be seen if she will continue to be a style influence on the brand. Christy Turlington, the design force behind Puma’s yoga-inspired and sportswear collection Nuala, has also created a buzz for the brand. Trying to build off Nuala’s success, Puma launched Mahanuala, a new collection of technical yoga-wear created to complement Nuala. Geared for yoga enthusiasts, the collection debuts at retail this fall. Puma jacked up its annual projected sales gain to 30 percent from 20 percent, due largely to the establishment of Puma Japan KK.
75. PIERRE CARDIN
Product: Couture, ready-to-wear, fragrances, cosmetics, accessories, among many others, all licensed.
Volume: Beauty and fragrance: $100 million (est). All other Cardin-branded goods: $1.5 billion (est. at retail).
Owner: Pierre Cardin, Paris.
At 81, the king of licenses remains feisty — even if he has admitted to shopping his far-flung holdings around for the last four years without concluding a deal.
According to sources, potential takers for the company could be any of the 800 Cardin licensees, which include Beldoch, which holds the license for Cardin’s women’s wear in North America and the Maxim’s restaurant chain. Nonetheless, reported cracks in the foundation of Cardin’s holdings have surfaced in the last year, such as a reported $60 million debt load. In the works at Pierre Cardin: A new complex in Moscow, which Cardin plans to open come autumn with his partner there, housing a shop and a Maxim’s.
76. GIORGIO ARMANI
Product: Ready-to-wear, accessories, fragrance and cosmetics, home furnishings.
Volume: $4.7 billion (at retail).
Owner: Giorgio Armani SpA, Milan.
Giorgio Armani continues to manage the company his own way, ignoring the stock exchange and refusing to look for outside partners. In 2002, the company invested $93.8 million in infrastructure and production, including $42 million to open 30 new stores and restructure 16 others. In November, the designer opened a 30,000-square-foot retail space in Hong Kong called Armani Chater House, where the Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani collections can be found under one roof for the first time. Armani plans to open another 20 stores this year globally.
Another notable investment: Last year, the company spent 10 percent of its wholesale volume, or more than $180 million, promoting its brands. Armani delivered celeb-studded ad campaigns for spring-summer 2003, starring actors Kristin Scott Thomas, Olivier Martinez and Milla Jovovich.
77. AMERICAN EAGLE OUTFITTERS
Product: Casual apparel and accessories.
Volume: $1.46 billion (at retail).
Owner: American Eagle Outfitters Inc., Warrendale, Pa.
Can American Eagle stretch its wings and really fly? The East Coast company, which offers the college-age customer basics such as khakis, cargos, and rugbys with an assortment of fashion-driven tops, is continuing its aggressive expansion westward: Over the next few years, the 753-door retailer is expected to turn 47 stores in California into 100.
Chief financial officer Laura Weil said the company is especially excited about its “Reissue” concept for back-to-school — a vintage-inspired and military-based assortment and multimedia marketing campaign set to hit by August. And, after a yearlong hiatus, the company will relaunch its namesake magalog with better product promotions and clearer editorial in early November, according to James O’Donnell, co-chief executive officer.
78. TOTES ISOTONER
Product: Umbrellas, rainwear, gloves, slippers.
Volume: $250 million
Owner: Swander Pace Capital, San Francisco.
Good things come in small packages at Totes Isotoner. Case in point: Last holiday season, the Cincinnati, Ohio-based company launched the Totes ’brella, the smallest umbrella the company has ever manufactured.Though it opens to full size, the ’brella folds to less than six inches in length and weighs a mere six ounces. The company promoted the ’brella by airing a TV spot that was part of the firm’s first advertising campaign in four years. Another spot promoted the Titanium model, which is supposed to withstand blustery winds and heavy rains.
Aside from umbrellas, Totes Isotoner produces a full line of women’s, men’s and children’s rainwear, slippers and cold weather accessories under both the Totes and Isotoner brands. Totes Isotoner also holds licenses with Northwalk Ltd. for footwear and with Eton for novelty gift items.The company’s origins date back to 1923 when the SoLo Marx Co. was founded in Loveland, Ohio and became known for its Totes rubber boots, designed to protect shoes from snow and rain. In 1961, Chicago businessman Brad Phillips bought the firm and changed its name to Totes, Inc. Totes’ invention of the first folding umbrella in 1970 gave the brand national recognition, and to this day, it remains Totes’ signature item. In 1997, Totes merged its operations with Aris-Isotoner, the maker of spandex gloves and ballerina slippers. And in 2001, San Francisco-based private equity firm Swander Pace Capital acquired the firm from Boston-based Bain Capital, which has owned Totes since 1994.
79. POLO JEANS CO.
Volume: $415.5 million
Owner: Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., New York (produced under license by Jones Apparel Group Inc., Bristol, Pa.).
The Polo Jeans Co. line continues to follow the American design model of Ralph Lauren’s other brands.
The line has recently been caught up in the legal battle between Jones Apparel Group Inc. and Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. As reported, Polo had been unhappy with the performance of the Ralph line, as well as the Lauren by Ralph Lauren line, to which Jones held the rights, and is seeking to get those licenses back. Jones recently filed a breach of contract suit against Polo, which promptly countersued. The dispute does not involve the current license for Polo Jeans, which runs through Dec. 31, 2005. However, its future remains unclear as the contract requires Jones to get Polo Ralph Lauren’s approval before it agrees to produce other competing designer brands — something that it would likely want to do if it lost the Lauren and Ralph labels.
Product: Swimwear, sportswear.
Volume: $75 million (women’s swimwear only).
Owner: Perry Ellis International, Miami.
Acquired from VF Corp. by Miami-based Perry Ellis International in 2002, Jantzen set out to revitalize its women’s swimwear line, and relaunch men’s swimwear, which had been discontinued in 1994.
The Diving Girl Collection, aimed at department stores, is a retro-inspired contemporary line for twentysomethings. Jantzen Ruby, a new junior line, is a sexy separates collection targeting mid-tier department and specialty stores. Both will hit stores in time for cruise 2004. The traditional Jantzen and Classics lines have added footwear and towels, as well as more color and details. May Company department stores, including Filene’s, Foley’s and Famous-Barr, have tested complete Jantzen presentations in limited doors.
Product: Dancewear, footwear, skatewear, accessories.
Volume: $ 70 million (est.).
Owner: Capezio/Balletmakers, Totowa, N.J.
Capezio has been a player on the dance scene since 1887 when cobbler Salvatore
Capezio opened his first store in New York, just across the street from the old Metropolitan Opera House at 39th and Broadway.
In its second century of business, the iconic brand continues to be a favorite in the worlds of ballet, dance and theater, thanks to an evolving lineup of styles aimed at professionals and amateurs. There’s now a popular line of plus-size bodywear, performance skatewear and even ballroom dancing togs.
Capezio deftly captures allure of dance in its current ad campaign, shot in black-and-white by famed dance photographer Lois Greenfield. The simple but riveting shots feature no copy except for the Capezio signature, with the dancers and their Capezios getting the message across.
82. KENNETH COLE
Product: Shoes, men’s wear, women’s wear, outerwear, eyewear, accessories, fragrances.
Volume: $433 million
Owner: Kenneth Cole Productions Inc., New York.
Kenneth Cole’s signature urban chic aesthetic pervaded his fall women’s wear collection — produced by Liz Claiborne — which featured a mod Sixties/Marlo Thomas theme, with miniskirts and minijumpers being paraded down the runway during New York fashion week. While Kenneth Cole is often associated with New York City, it is seeking to expand its clothing licenses overseas. Last October the company opened two stores in London, and in May, a unit opened in Santiago, Chile.
On the fragrance front, Kenneth Cole last year launched signature fragrances for women and men through a deal with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which in May sold the Kenneth Cole fragrances business to Coty Inc.
In September, “Footnotes,” a book written by Cole chronicling his 20 years in business, will be published.
Product: Couture, fragrances, cosmetics, accessories.
Volume: $1.3 billion (worldwide, at retail).
Owner: LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Paris.
Rumors have swirled over the last year that Givenchy would bid adieu to its Welsh couturier, Julien Macdonald, replacing him with Dior’s hot men’s designer, Hedi Slimane. But Givenchy has repeatedly denied that scenario, as has Slimane. Meanwhile, the fashion house has been moving forward, with Macdonald rediscovering the house’s elegant roots, delivering smart day suits and bejeweled evening gowns. In the fall, the house will introduce a new fragrance, Very Irresistible Givenchy. To pump up interest in the perfume, Givenchy has tapped actress Liv Tyler as its face. Sources estimate that the fragrance could do upward of $100 million at retail globally in its first year.
Product: Watches, accessories.
Volume: $663.3 million (of which $83.1 million is at retail).
Owner: Fossil Inc., Richardson, Tex.
Fossil has shown no signs of ossification. The company’s offerings last year received a major infusion of hipness with a collection of watches designed by Philippe Starck. The line is being expanded with a number of new styles for fall. This spring, the collection introduced watch rings and pendants. Now sold in 17,500 doors in the U.S., Fossil’s products continue to account for as much as 35 percent of the overall fashion watch category, according to industry estimates. Fossil also operates 110 of its own stores, with eight more set to open this year.
85. BURLINGTON INDUSTRIES
Product: Hosiery, socks.
Volume: $15 million (est.).
Owner: Golden Lady SpA, Montavo, Italy.
At Burlington, cotton is king. It remains a resolutely traditional brand focused on providing “the best non-technical” cotton-only basics available. The company has moved most of its production emphasis from hosiery to socks in recent years to counteract dips in the former market. Burlington’s biggest production shift has been in manufacturing more multiple-pair packages of athletic socks for both men and women since 2001. Women’s products, including sheer hose and dress and athletic socks, account for roughly 45 percent of the firm’s overall inventory. Burlington currently has an estimated 1,100 retail accounts nationwide.
Product: Sporting goods, licensed apparel, accessories.
Volume: $300 million (including licensing).
Owner: Russell Corporation, Atlanta.
After being run by financial corporations since 1996, Spalding is now back in the sporting goods fold, having been purchased in May 2003 by Russell Corporation from Oaktree Capital Management. Apparel, which accounts for 33 percent of Spalding’s total income, is sold at mass market retail and will continue to be produced by New York licensees Fashion Options and Jacques Moret. Women’s product accounts for 40 percent of licensed apparel and accessories, with room to grow, according to the company. In addition to Lycra-based performance bodywear, Spalding will expand activewear and sportswear, having signed a deal with JCORP, a St. Laurent, Canada, manufacturer in February.
Product: Junior and young men’s apparel, children’s wear, accessories.
Volume: $300 million
Owner: Seattle Pacific Industries Inc., Seattle.
It pays to stick with what you know. Since 1981, Unionbay has done just that by offering clothes for an active Northwest lifestyle. Last spring’s orders alone racked up more than $100 million. Last fall it launched men’s and boys’ shoes (which are licensed to Steve Madden, Ltd.) as well as infant and toddler clothes. In development is a line of underwear and loungewear, as well as a watch collection slated to hit retail in time for holiday 2003. Capitalizing on the company’s signature red, white and blue colors, Unionbay is developing its wholesale presence in Japan (where 20 percent of its business already comes from), Korea and the Philippines, where the appeal of American brands has been strong in recent years.
Product: Fine jewelry, watches, leather goods, gifts, stationery.
Volume: $2.37 billion (est.).
Owner: Compagnie Financiere Richemont AG, Zug, Switzerland.
Cartier continues to court the discerning jewelry aficionado with dazzling pieces. Last month, for example, it launched Le Baiser du Dragon, a jewelry collection of red rubies, black onyx and gold. The 30-piece collection was the focus of a party at Cartier’s Fifth Avenue flagship that drew the likes of Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Julia Stiles and Benjamin Bratt. Lavish parties — and budgets — are nothing new to the brand, which, along with Patek Philippe and Rolex, is considered to dominate the high end watch market, which accounts for an estimated 55 percent of Richemont’s total sales. The brand operates 32 stores in the U.S., including units in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix and Costa Mesa, Calif.
89. JONES NEW YORK
Product: Sportswear, outerwear, eyewear, innerwear, accessories.
Volume: $750 million
Owner: Jones Apparel Group, Bristol, Pa.
Jones New York, a pillar in the better sportswear arena, is taking more time to reach out to its core casual customer, via a new line and more targeted marketing. The company will launch a new casualwear collection in spring 2004, in part to fill the potential void left by the licensed Lauren by Ralph Lauren line produced by Jones, which is currently in legal dispute. The brand’s spring ads already reflect its more relaxed aesthetic. They feature actress Angie Harmon, chosen to lend the company a friendlier face, according to senior vice president of marketing Susan Lastrina. Harmon wears mostly casual looks from Jones’ collection and sports groups.
Product: Men’s sportswear and accessories, women’s golfwear, boys’ wear.
Volume: $450 million
Owner: Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., New York.
Since Phillips-Van Heusen acquired Izod in 1995 from Crystal Brands, the label has been out to reclaim its identity. PVH has been ramping up the moderately priced line, selling to J.C. Penney, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor and Robinsons-May. Izod is seeking to expand its women’s offerings beyond golfwear with a sportswear line produced by apparel giant Kellwood Co. to be sold exclusively at May Department Stores nationwide. Additional lines are in the pipeline, according to PVH president and chief operating officer Max Weber. Women’s swimwear, leather goods and handbags, as well as a girls’ line, are some of the deals to be announced soon.
Product: Footwear, apparel, accessories.
Volume: $450 million
Owner: Reebok International Ltd., Canton, Mass.
Rockport, a leader in the comfort shoe movement, was one of the first companies to marry the sneaker with a brown shoe. Rockport has recently updated its shoes, adding more color and materials such as canvas and mesh. Boots are being added for the fall, and sandals for spring 2004. The brand continues to offer men’s and women’s apparel, which it launched in 1991.Terri Rawson was named vice president of marketing in June, and is planning the brand’s new creative direction. The new campaign will be more product-focused than last year’s emotionally charged lifestyle images.
Product: Handbags, luggage, personal planning products, leather outerwear, gloves and scarves.
Volume: $935 million
Owner: Coach Inc., New York.
Over the past few years, Coach has gotten a new sheen by introducing new fabrics and styles and expanding into watches, hats and shoes. It was spun off from Sara Lee Corp. in an initial public offering in October 2000 and its stock price is up 62 percent since then. Lew Frankfort, Coach’s chairman and chief executive, is focusing on sustaining the company’s growth by building on its position as America’s “accessible luxury lifestyle brand,” emphasizing more special occasion and weekend products and offering items with a broader range of prices. Coach also plans to add 100 U.S. retail stores over the next four to five years, lifting its count to approximately 250.
Product: Costume jewelry
Volume: $70 million (est.).
Owner: Liz Claiborne Inc., New York.
Monet, one of the nation’s oldest and best-known costume jewelry brands, was founded in
Providence, R.I., in 1927, at a time when costume jewelry flourished in the U.S. But as consumer needs and shopping patterns changed, the company fell on hard times, eventually filing for bankruptcy in 2000. It was subsequently purchased by Liz Claiborne Inc. Under the Liz fold, Monet has updated its logo and packaging and its offerings have been refreshed with more fashion pieces. In addition, the company this spring introduced vintage-inspired bridal accessories, an area few costume jewelry firms target. The Monet bridal collection sells in a range of department stores.
Product: Innerwear, shapewear.
Volume: $125 million
Owner: The Warnaco Group, New York.
The Olga name in bras is among the most widely known national brands at department stores. Under the watchful eye of its owner, The Warnaco Group, Olga is the “second best-selling department store bra brand” in the U.S., said Tom Wyatt, president of the Warnaco Intimate Apparel division. Wyatt said the Olga name is being repositioned as a “more sophisticated, engineered bra label, with some coordinating daywear pieces” aimed at a more fashion- and luxury-conscious consumer. The new image is being molded by Ziccardi Partners Frierson Mee, the New York- and Paris-based advertising agency. Even the elegantly scripted Olga logo has been updated to look more contemporary.
95. CK JEANS
Product: Jeanswear, children’s wear.
Volume: $317.2 million.
Owner: Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., New York. Produced under license by Warnaco Group Inc., New York.
The last few years witnessed constant battles between Calvin Klein and licensee Warnaco Group, a trip into bankruptcy on Warnaco’s part and constant questions as to who would buy Calvin Klein Inc. In February, Warnaco emerged from bankruptcy, and in April, Phillips-Van Heusen closed on its acquisition of CKI. Industry veteran John Kourakos now overseas the jeans business as president of sportswear. With the major crisis points past, the challenge for CK Jeans executives now is to return the business to solid growth and avoid further hiccups.
96. J. CREW
Product: Sportswear, accessories, outerwear, innerwear, children’s wear, fragrances, body care.
Volume: $766.4 million (at retail).
Owner: Texas Pacific Group, Fort Worth, Tex. and San Francisco.
Too many products, too many catalog formats and too much management turnover has taken a toll on J. Crew. Now the company needs to recapture its fresh, preppy appeal of years past, and perhaps play up more of the iconic Crew styles — rollneck sweaters and barn jackets. Hopes for the brand’s revitalization lie with its new chief executive officer, Millard “Mickey” Drexler. He catapulted Gap into an internationally recognized brand, but left last year after a lengthy slump in Gap profits. Drexler, who invested $10 million in J. Crew, plans to pump up the product quality, narrow the offerings, and revitalize the retail stores, which never reached their potential.
97. PERRY ELLIS
Product: Men’s and boys’ wear, fragrances, women’s licensed products, licensing.
Volume: $975 million (including licensing.).
Owner: Perry Ellis International, Miami.
Perry Ellis International is reviving its women’s business, which closed in the early Nineties following the debut of the infamous Marc Jacobs grunge collection. In June, the company said it would join forces with private label manufacturer European Design Group to produce a women’s suit business under the Perry Ellis and Perry Ellis Portfolio labels for spring 2004, selling at about 500 major department and specialty stores. PEI also agreed to buy Salant, the largest licensee of PEI branded apparel, for $91 million in cash and stock, giving it greater control of the Perry Ellis brand, as well as ownership of moderate brands Axis and Tricots St. Raphael. The deal is expected to close this month.
Volume: $455 million (including licensing).
Owner: Mudd Inc., New York.
Over the past decade, Mudd has been one of the leaders in a group of brands offering consumers fast-turning fashion looks at prices below $30. Through licensing deals, the brand has been extended into 17 categories, including swimwear, accessories, sunglasses, shoes and outerwear.
Mudd last December aired its first television ad campaign, running spots on MTV that showed empty jeans dancing their way through surreal environments including underwater scenes and a field of flowers. President Dick Gilbert projected that Mudd’s wholesale volume, including licensing, will hit $550 million in 2003.
Volume: $50 million (est.).
Owner: VF Corp., Greensboro, N.C.
The Gitano brand has been through a series of owners since its inception 25 years ago, but throughout that period, it has kept a similar focus: Basic jeans with some fashion details for a value-minded customer.
The most recent change of ownership came in 2000, when VF Corp. bought the brand from Fruit of the Loom for $18 million. Since then, Gitano has filled a niche in VF’s mass-market jeans portfolio: Fashionably-styled jeans cut for women in their late twenties. The company acquired the name partly out of concerns that the women’s jeans market is more fragmented, and one brand can’t necessarily serve as many customers as it can in men’s.
VF’s denim business has not been immune: Domestic jeans sales were down 7 percent in the first quarter from the prior year, and the company blamed store closings and inventory reductions.
Product: Bras, panties, daywear, shapewear.
Volume: $125 million
Owner: The Warnaco Group, New York.
As part of an initiative at The Warnaco Group to update its staple of intimate apparel brands, the 129-year-old Warner’s brand is getting a makeover. “We had not seen any newness for three years,” said Tom Wyatt, president and chief executive officer of Warnaco’s Intimate Apparel division. Warner’s trademarks continue to be seamless bras, average-size bras and proprietary post-molding applications. Wyatt said the company is “in the process of spending $1 million to repackage and revamp what our brands communicate at point-of-sale.” Beginning in August, the new Warner’s look debuts, including new POS materials, hangtags and a restyled logo.