Haggar is having a moment.
The Dallas-based brand, which celebrated its 90th anniversary last year, had both the best-selling non-denim casual pant and dress pant at U.S. department stores and national chains in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to the NPD Group.
But for Michael Stitt, chief executive officer, there’s more growth to be had, particularly online.
Haggar just relaunched its web site, which is the fastest-growing portion of the business, with improved functionality that is intended to enhance the shopping experience.
“Online sales on Haggar.com grew by 28 percent last year,” Stitt said. “Our digital team spent the last eight months developing, testing and perfecting our new platform. Our new site offers the most extensive selection of Haggar pants and suit separates in an easy to navigate environment.”
The site includes a new pant finder that asks consumers a number of questions to help identify the right style pant. It also offers a reorder function for the first time.
Haggar hired a chief digital officer, Eve Richey, two years ago and the company is investing in direct-to-consumer capabilities, including spending $5 million to modernize its distribution center, Stitt said.
Although online is seen as a major growth area, mid-tier department stores still represent 75 percent of the brand’s business so a focus on wholesale continues, Stitt said.
The company is increasing its marketing spend by more than 30 percent this year, according to the ceo, and will launch a new campaign for its Cool 18 Pro golf line in April.
A catalogue will be mailed to 400,000 homes in May and the company will “leverage its sports assets” — the brand is the official provider of the gold jacket for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, for example — on its social media channels.
“I’d characterize our business as healthy with strong momentum,” Stitt said. “A couple of years ago, we made the decision to go back to our roots and focus on product innovation and quality. So we’re offering finer fabrics, comfort features and fits and interior trims and ramping up the quality.”
Tony Anzovino, Haggar’s lead men’s wear designer and head of global apparel, pointed to the stretch and recovery attributes that were built into the company’s non-iron khakis as well as the four-way stretch fabric, shirt gripper waistband, moisture wicking and UPF 50 sun protection in the Cool 18 Pro golf pant as among the more-recent additions.
Haggar also uses Unifi’s Repreve fibers, which are made from recycled plastic bottles, in its E-Clo dress pants, which were the number-one selling dress pant at the department store level in the fourth quarter of last year.
Founded by Joseph M. Haggar in 1926, the company is now owned by Centre Lane, a private equity firm, and Grand Wealth, an Asian manufacturer and retailer. Stitt said the owners are “very supportive and have made a lot of investment in cap ex and digital.”
At some point, he said the plan is for the investors to exit through a sale or an initial public offering, but “they’re very patient so there’s no pressure.”