Blog: Leonie BarrieVF steps upscale

Leonie Barrie | 27 July 2007

VF Corp’s decision to try to make a serious dent in the upscale fashion scene is yet more evidence of the changing dynamics of the apparel sector, where mid-market companies are now having to ditch or tweak previously successful models to in an attempt to latch on to new growth opportunities.

Driving this trend is the decline in department store sales where apparel wholesalers such as Jones Apparel, Kellwood and Liz Claiborne have traditionally sold most of their clothes. Growing demand for private label, or exclusive, brands is also fuelling the shift, driven by specialty stores sales and department stores’ own lines. And companies like VF and Liz Claiborne – which is planning to offload 16 brands – are now pegging their hopes on hot brands with big growth potential.

As VF says, its new brands extend its reach to growing consumer segments, broaden its presence in healthy and growing retail channels, and of course offer opportunities to expand through global store expansion and new product launches. The 7 For All Mankind brand is due to open its first store in November and could have as many as 100 stores globally by 2011.

VF to buy two fashion brands for US$885m


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