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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Today's Power Players...What it takes for Companies to Survive TODAY...


by Dan Getz, Blogger,

What does it take for companies to survive in TODAY"S economic climate?  Nike, a number of years ago, stated the answer quite simply  as "Just Do It", but most people and companies are still scratching thier heads and asking themselves "Do What?"...A few days ago I included this quote in my Blog Post entitled "Words to LIVE by" which I believe provides a more precise answer to this question:

“The KEY to Sales/Advertising/Success/LIFE is THREEFOLD…1) Say it…and DO it 2) Say it…and DO it BETTER and 3) Repeat to Infinity and Beyond” – Dan Getz/Dance4One with help from Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story) on #3

Taking it one step further, and as Tim Lyons, President of Sales of Haggar Clothing Company (#8 in MRketplace Power Players List below and which was led from the "brink of bankruptcy" only 3 short years ago by current CFO Jean Nelson) stated during a companywide luncheon earlier this month, "We have to continue to be in a position to respond and adapt to an ever-changing market-place...and to respond and adapt quicker and better than anyone else."   

Sometimes when we hear statements like Mrkplace observed in the article below, and I quote, " the brand names that dominated those selling floors just 10 years ago, for the most part, have a much diminished presence today", we can easily become discouraged and be tempted to give up.  However, we MUST also listen to the CONCLUSION both Mrktplace and these 32 "Power Players" have ALSO discovered, "Today’s Power Players have figured out how to live in this atmosphere, but still do business.'...

Below, Re-Posted by Dan Getz, Blogger for Dance4One

Power Players: The menswear industry’s largest companies

May 4, 2011 By MRketplace Staff

What does it take to play in the big leagues of menswear? Apparently, a lot more than it used to.

 If you are a manufacturer or brand owner, your e-commerce strategy, social networking, flagship stores, off-price outlets and licensing agreements can be even more important than what you are actually selling to stores. Yet MR is all about retailers and, in this case, about big conventional ones. So, when we came up with the idea for this special section, it was to look at those companies that are important in major department, discount and off-price stores that sell multiple brands.

At first we thought it would be a monumental job. We created a list of more than 100 companies that we thought were major players in this market. However, we quickly eliminated some very well-known players like Burberry and Diesel, and the big European conglomerates because the vast majority of their annual sales are in their own stores, or in women’s apparel, or from countries outside North America, or all of the above. Some others dropped off the list because their actual sales volume was much smaller than their marketing (or presence in Marshalls) would indicate. In addition, some very big brands that used to stand alone, like Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Nautica and 7 For All Mankind, are now divisions of much larger companies like PVH and VF Corp.

In the department store and mid-tier business, the brand names that dominated those selling floors just 10 years ago, for the most part, have a much diminished presence today. They have been replaced by a legion of exclusive or proprietary store brands and private labels that help differentiate Macy’s from Dillard’s and Kohl’s from JCPenney. Today’s Power Players have figured out how to live in this atmosphere, but still do business.

In the end, we came up with a group of just over 30 companies that we believe are the most influential vendors in the biggest stores. They include a group of single brand companies that have been able to maintain both their identity and their sales volume despite the shifting sands of change. However, most of the companies on our list have survived by selling across several retail segments, from high to low, combining their own or licensed brands with a strong mix of private and proprietary label programs.
It will be interesting to look at this list 10 years from now and see how few companies are actually driving the business, or if the retailers themselves become their own vendors by expanding their sourcing and licensing for their own production. In the meantime, the following pages offer a look at the state of big box menswear retailing today. We hope you find it useful.

The Giorgio Armani Group

 Building off of the success of the original unstructured jacket dubbed the “Armani suit” in the ’80s, Giorgio Armani has evolved his brand into a multi-category powerhouse of men’s and women’s apparel and accessories. What began as a high-fashion Italian design house in the1970s has become a multi-million dollar business dipping into major markets from the department store level to haute couture. In 2010 Giorgio Armani (who still oversees both the company’s strategic direction and all aspects of design and creativity) was named Designer of the Year at GQ Magazine‘s annual Men of the Year awards in London. 2010 also marked the launch of the Armani Samsung smart phone and mobile platform for e-commerce, taking this high fashion company a step further and capitalizing off of the digital marketplace.

Executives: Chairman, CEO & president: Giorgio Armani; CEO, U.S.: Graziano de Boni
  • Fiscal year ending July 2010 revenues $2.13 billion.
  • Brands: Armani Privé, Giorgio Armani, Armani Collezioni, Emporio Armani, Armani Jeans, Armani Junior, Armani Baby, Armani Exchange, Armani Casa, Armani Hotels & Resorts.
  • Licensees: Eyewear, watches, cosmetics, fragrances, jewelry.
  • In 2009 Armani opened 182 new stores (72 freestanding).
  • Current total 1,503 (609 freestanding) mono-brand stores worldwide, including Fifth Avenue NYC concept store.
  • Seeing growth potential in Asia, Armani opened 21 stores in China alone.
  • Retailers like Neiman Marcus, Saks and Nordstrom carry Armani Collezioni, while Armani Jeans is sold at stores like Macy’s.
Note: the version of this article that appeared in print in MR’s April issue said that Armani’s 2010 revenue was $2.13 million; this should have read $2.13 billion. It has been corrected above.


In 1938 the Lamfrom family, German nationals fleeing the Nazis, established Columbia Hat Company in Portland, Oregon. Daughter Gert designed the company’s first fishing vest in 1960, and the Columbia Sportswear Company was born. After her father’s death, Gert’s husband Neal Boyle became president, but six years later he passed away, too. Gert found herself at the helm of a financially struggling company, with the aid of her son Tim, who was still in college. After a year they were advised by a banker to sell the company, but were only offered $1,400—they wisely declined. With a lot of hard work, the company rebounded, going public in 1998, trading on the NASDAQ as COLM.
Today Columbia does close to $1.5 billion in annual sales, with the U.S. comprising about 60 percent.

You’d recognize chairman of the board Gert—she’s the bespectacled, demanding face of the company’s “one tough mother” advertising campaign and packaging.
The company’s success rests on its commitment to innovation: in the past two years, Columbia has applied for more patents than in its entire 72-year history. They have introduced Omni-Tech, Omni Dry, Omni-Heat and Omni Shade technologies into just about every product category the company produces.

The company has gone on to acquire the Mountain Hardwear, Sorel, Montrail and Pacific Trail brands. Product is manufactured at independent factories in 13 nations, with 71 percent of production (in 2009) happening in Vietnam and China. In the United States the brand can be found at retailers like Macy’s and Nordstrom, as well as at sporting goods chains. They own six branded stores, 28 outlets, and sell through, as well as through e-commerce sites for their other brands.

Executives: Chairman: Gert Boyle; President & CEO: Tim Boyle
  • 1975: First to introduce a Gore-Tex parka.
  • 1991: Omni-Tech waterproof-breathable technology introduced.
  • 1997: Omni Dry moisture management technology introduced.
  • 2005: Gert Boyle’s autobiography, One Tough Mother, released.
  • 2008: Omni-Shade sun protection technology introduced.
  • 2010: Omni-Heat, a suite of three reflective, thermal and electric products, introduced.


In 1922, Charles Nathan Williamson, C. Don Williamson and Colonel E. E. Dickie purchased the U.S. Overall Company of Fort Worth, and two days later changed the name to the Williamson-Dickie Mfg. Co. In 1926, the Dickies brand name became the company’s registered trademark and a workwear legend was born. 1967 marks the introduction of the Dickies Original 874 Work Pant, which remains the brand’s top-selling product. While the surf/skate market embraced the brand in the1980s, it’s perfectly positioned for the 2010s as heritage brands rule the contemporary market, and will capitalize on that popularity via a shoe collaboration with Converse Chuck Taylor.
The company makes men’s and women’s work pants, shorts, shirts, denim, outerwear, school wear and has an extensive licensing program in over 60 countries. Williamson-Dickie operates through wholly owned affiliates in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and China, as well as with exclusive distributorships around the world. The brand retails domestically at mass department and discount stores such as Sears, JCPenney, Kmart and Walmart, yet can also be found at contemporary stores like American Rag and at non-apparel chains like The Home Depot. It is also available through its own e-commerce channels, and The firm does an estimated $1.15 billion in sales.

The company recently launched an advertising campaign, debuting as a series of web films on YouTube and at Underscored by the campaign tagline “Earn Them,” the videos illustrate the legacy of the 874 Work Pant through a diverse series of tough tests and everyday uses.

Executives: Chairman, president & CEO: Philip Williamson
  • 1920s: Creates signature twill work pant; still best-selling product.
  • 1940s: Becomes first major apparel company to use consumer research: survey of range cowboys shows that jeans were catching on brush and yanking them off horses because of the forward-facing side seams: Dickies develops back-facing side seams, today’s denim industry standard.
  • 1949: Patents first permanent press.

Exquisite Apparel

Exquisite Apparel has been producing men’s sleepwear, loungewear, underwear and robes in three major product groups (private label, licensed and national brands) for over 25 years. Branded now makes up about 60 percent of the business, shifting from private label (currently 25 percent to total) because of retailer demand. What makes Exquisite stand out from its competitors? Their foray into base layer apparel (things with moisture management, anti-wicking and anti-microbial technologies). Matt Tedesco, EVP, explains, “The base layer/thermal category is a growing business for us in brands like K2, Dickies and Weatherproof. We’re selling it to department stores, but it also opens up new segments of the market like sporting goods and workwear stores.”

Executives: Owner: Michael Shina; Executive vice president: Matt Tedesco
  • Licensed brands and products: Geoffrey Beene, Van Heusen, Arrow, Weatherproof, Exquisite Apparel, Addiction, XTek, Nicole Miller, Jessica McClintock, Dickies and K2. Bud Light, Budweiser, Orange County Choppers, Natural Light, Busch, Miami Ink, Rolling Rock, Burger King, LA Ink, Michelob Lager, Sauza Tequila, Jim Beam, The Beatles and Popeye.

George Weintraub

The dominant force in men’s overcoats and raincoats, George Weintraub holds the licenses for menswear megabrands Calvin Klein, Lauren by Ralph Lauren, DKNY and Izod, all in the $495 to $595 retail range, as well as for Joseph Abboud outerwear for $295 to $395. The company has also recently broken into the casual outerwear world with licenses for Geoffrey Beene and Joseph Abboud. Additionally, they make tailored clothing for private label programs as well as under the Andrew Fezza brand, for which they have the master license.
Most of their distribution is with department, specialty and chain stores across the United States and Canada, with sourcing in Asia.

The third generation company has been in business for more than 30 years and was originally a clothing importer. George Weintraub, the founder and namesake, passed away recently after a long illness.

In a separate division, the company also holds the license for tailored clothing and overcoats for Star USA by John Varvatos. Sold to Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s and retailing in the $495 to $995 range, the collection is manufactured in Europe. All sales and marketing for that line are handled by the John Varvatos offices.
Executives: Chairman & CEO: Jeff Weintraub; Sr. corporate vice president: Joe Gordon


Outerwear powerhouse G-III was founded as G&N Sportswear in 1956 by Aron Goldfarb, whose son, Morris Goldfarb, is the current Chairman and CEO. The company became known as G-III Leather Fashions in 1974 and went public as G-III Apparel Group in 1989. Their stable of brands includes Black Rivet, G-III, G-III Sports by Carl Banks, Winlit and Tannery West. In 2008, they purchased the Andrew Marc and Marc New York labels. They added the “rebel division” Marc Moto last year and have done licensing as well.

Almost two-thirds of their entire business however, or about $500 million, is selling licensed merchandise including 12 menswear brands such as Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole New York and Levi’s, not to mention seven major sports league licenses like the National Football League, National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball.

G-III’s major customers include Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, JCPenney and Kohl’s, as well as Costco and Sam’s Club. Their top 10 customers account for about 55 percent of their business. They also own the Wilson’s Outlets retail chain, with 121 retail stores in 35 states. Net sales of the company’s retail operations were $126.6 million.
The company sees future growth in the dress business, built off its recent success with Calvin Klein licensed dresses and sportswear, but plans to introduce Marc New York dresses, transforming the company into an all-season, diversified apparel company.
Executives: Chairman and CEO: Morris Goldfarb; Vice chairman: Sammy Aaron; President: Jeanette Nostra; COO: Wayne S. Miller.

Gold Toe Moretz

Is there an American man who doesn’t have a pair of Gold Toe socks in his drawer? The trademarked “gold toe” became a symbol for the brand when two German immigrants in the 1920s started knitting stronger linen fibers into the toes of their cotton socks to prevent blow-outs. Today, four out of every 10 pairs of socks sold in department stores are a Gold Toe brand. The parent company, Gold Toe Moretz, is the world’s second largest sock company. Owned brands include Gold Toe, Auro, All Pro, SilverToe, GoldToeGear and PowerSox, and licensed brands are Under Armour and New Balance.

The company sells Macy’s, Dillards, Kohl’s, Walmart, Target and many more, and also has an extensive private label program. Capitalizing on the brand’s consumer recognition, the company launched Gold Toe underwear in 2010, which has been picked up by several mid-tier department stores. The new G collection, more colorful and targeting the young contemporary customer, hits stores late May.

Gold Toe Stores Inc. operates 29 stores in outlet malls nationwide and, of course, there’s, which sells directly to consumers.

Proving that everything old is new again, the company recently entered into a licensing partnership to manufacture, market and sell a patented design sports spat. At an MSRP of $19.99, the piece is designed for active sports played on artificial turf fields, preventing rubber crumbs from getting into shoes and socks, keeping laces tight and protecting cleats. Soccer moms rejoice.
UPDATE: Gold Toe Moretz was acquired by Canadian knit basics powerhouse Gildan for $350 million in early April.

Executives: CEO: Steve Lineberger; President, department stores: Sheldon Wolff.
  • PowerSox division sponsors mountain climber Dave Hahn.
  • Collaborated with new designer Marlon Gobel for fall 2011 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week runway show.
  • Fluffy, Canterbury and Metropolitan are the three classic, trademarked Gold Toe styles that consumers still request at retail.


Haggar is an iconic pants label, credited for popularizing the word slacks to connote the pants men wore during their slack or casual times. J.M. Haggar Sr. founded the company in 1926 with the idea of making apparel for the average hard-working man, and his vision remains today. Haggar has a rich history filled with a lot of firsts: In the 1950s, they were the first to advertise slacks on network television; they were the first apparel company to ticket merchandise with UPC bar codes; they invented the first wrinkle-free cotton pants; and in 2002 introduced their pants model with a hidden expandable waistband.

Executives: CEO: Paul Buxbaum; Executive vice president: Jon Ragsdale.
  • Manufactures casual pants, dress pants and suit separates. Licenses sportswear (Roytex), outerwear (World Cross Culture), socks and hosiery (International Legwear Group), outdoor apparel (Gramicci).
  • Sells in over 10,000 stores in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the U.K. at retailers like Macy’s, JCPenney, Kohl’s and Belk, as well as over 70 Haggar outlet stores.
  • Haggar was a public company until 2005 when it was sold to the private investment firm Infinity Associates LLC.
  • Acquired Neema Clothing’s private label tailored clothing and dress furnishings business and Bert Pulitzer brand under license from Global Licensing Company, LLC.
  • In 2009 Haggar launched a new collection of casual and dress apparel with Sears to target key and shared customers, and as a part of Sears’ plan to build its menswear offering.

Hanes Brands, Inc.

In 2009 Hanes Brands, Inc. was named as the #1 most preferred men’s brand by consumer tracking service NPD Group for the sixth consecutive year in a row. With 2010 revenues of $4.3 billion, Hanes holds the largest share in all innerwear categories. Hanes attributes growth and sales to their focus on comfort, fit and value. Most of Hanes business is with Walmart (27 percent of sales), Target (17 percent of sales) and Kohl’s (7 percent of sales) and the majority of sales come from innerwear ($1.8 billion, 47 percent to total), followed by sportswear ($1.1 billion, 27 percent to total), hosiery ($186 million, 5 percent to total), direct to consumer ($370 million, 10 percent to total), international ($438 million, 11 percent to total) and other ($13 million, 1 percent to total).
Executives: Chairman and CEO: Richard Noll
  • Hanes Brands, Inc. was founded in 1901 by J. Wesley Hanes.
  • Brands: Hanes, Champion, Playtex, Bali, L’eggs, Just My Size, Barely There and Wonderbra.
  • Distribution channels: 45 percent net sales to mass merchants, 16 percent to national chains and department stores, 11percent to international segment, 10 percent direct to consumer and 18 percent to other retail channels like embellishers, specialty retailers and sporting goods stores.


There is perhaps no other company that encapsulates the American menswear tradition like HMX. Its stable of 19th century brands like flagship Hart Schaffner Marx (founded Chicago, 1887), Hickey Freeman (founded Rochester, NY, 1899), Coppley (Hamilton, Ontario, 1856) and Bobby Jones, named for the record-setting golfer from the 1920s, offer a rich history of tailoring and sportswear, as do more recent additions Austin Reed and Worn. The company is also about to re-launch its Palm Beach brand as an upscale, colorful lifestyle collection. Industry observers were dismayed by the company’s 2009 Chapter 11 filing and potential liquidation, but British private equity firm Emerisque Brands and its partner SKNL North America came to the icon’s rescue in August 2009, and HMX, LLC was created. Former Polo Ralph Lauren exec Doug Williams, hired originally as chief operating officer, was promoted to chief executive and director of HMX Group and the turnaround began. In January the company recruited all-American designer Joseph Abboud as its president and chief creative officer.

In a January 2011 MR interview, Williams said, “the Chicago and Rochester factories are now operating at full capacity; the Hamilton factory almost full.” Truly a tailored clothing powerhouse, sportswear is 15 percent men’s volume, and growing fast.

The company has a few retail locations, including Hickey Freeman stores in New York, San Francisco and Chicago; and a Bobby Jones store in Naples, Fla. Williams says, “The turnaround of our menswear brands continues to exceed projections. We’re thrilled with the progress of Hart Schaffner Marx, Hickey Freeman, Coppley and Bobby Jones. What’s more, Joseph and I have a few tricks up our sleeves for a similar resurrection of our women’s brands.”

Executives: CEO: Doug Williams; President & CCO: Joseph Abboud; Chairman, Coppley: Warwick Jones; President, Hickey Freeman: Mike Cohen; President, HSM: Brett Schenck.

Hugo Boss

Germany-based Hugo Boss is a true leader in the men’s premium and luxury markets. The company is predominately men’s (80 percent) and reported preliminary 2010 revenue of $2.4 billion, with U.S. sales accounting for 20 percent of that. Boss’s product offerings include tailored, evening, casual, shoes, leather accessories, licensed fragrance, watches and eyewear. When asked about growth potential in a recent MR interview, Mark Brashear said, “In men’s, we’ve seen a continued shift to casualization so sportswear is growing nicely. That said, tailored remains our most important category and we’ve had a nice response to new suit models and updated silhouettes. For some reason, the American male consumer is suddenly open to updated styling, more so than in years past. And the price, value, quality and style of our suit offerings have convinced many upscale stores to give us a try, even those that previously eschewed a $795 ticket.”

Executives: Global CEO: Claus Lahrs; Chairman and CEO, Americas: Mark Brashear.
  • Brands: Boss Black (68 percent of total sales), Boss Orange (17 percent of total sales), Hugo (9 percent of total sales), Boss Selection (3 percent of total sales) and Boss Green (3 percent of total sales).
  • U.S. retail stats: 1,170 points of sale, 75 directly operated stores, 2 showrooms and 100 franchised stores.
  • 80/20 men’s vs. women’s.
  • In 2009, the U.S. accounted for 18 percent of total business.

Iconix Brand Group you want to see what the future of branding looks like, Iconix would be a good place to start. CEO Neil Cole has built a house of brands that do no manufacturing, but secure licensing deals with both vendors and retailers to generate income. Through the purchase and revival of brands that are fading, repositioning those that have a rich heritage and envisioning the possibilities among brands that may be underperforming or not reaching their full potential, Iconix has assembled a licensing and marketing organization that is the envy of many. As of December 2010, the company had 27 brands in its portfolio.
Iconix revenue in 2010 was over $300 million, an increase of more than 30 percent over 2009. Nearly 20 percent of that was with brands that are licensed to Target, Sears/Kmart or Kohl’s.
Of their 27 brands, those wholly-owned labels with menswear components include Joe Boxer, London Fog, Ocean Pacific, Rocawear and Starter. In addition, they have ownership interests through joint ventures with Ed Hardy, Ecko, Zoo York and Artful Dodger.
Executive: President & CEO: Neil Cole.

JA Apparel Abboud was founded by its namesake in 1987. The current company, JA Apparel, Corp, as well as its subsidiaries, JA Brand Group and Joseph Abboud Manufacturing Corp., are all owned by JW Childs Associates, LLP. Long-time operations chief Tony Sapienza was promoted to CEO last fall after the departure of Marty Staff. (Designer Joseph Abboud is currently president and chief creative officer of HMX.)
In a recent interview, Sapienza noted, “JW Childs bought the company six years ago with the plan to eventually sell it at a profit. There are no current plans to sell, and the company thinks it’s important to grow out of the recession.”
In the meantime, the brand is maintaining its American designer heritage under the creative direction of Bernardo Rojo, who oversees all in-house production as well as that of 48 licensees, international and domestic, from footwear to luggage and home furnishings with an estimated value of $150 million. The New Bedford, Mass.-based factory produces 900 suits a day, and can make made-to-measure clothing in seven days. Joseph Abboud Blue Label is applied to all domestically-produced collections, retailing at Nordstrom and better specialty stores. White Label is a second-tier, internationally sourced product (suits retail for $495, as opposed to Blue Label at $700 to $1,000), and is sold exclusively to Men’s Wearhouse. JOE Joseph Abboud, currently a JCPenney exclusive, is licensed to Peerless for tailored clothing, Hampshire for sportswear and shares PVH with Joseph Abboud for dress shirts. There are also licenses for the Japanese and Chinese markets encompassing product and stores.
Executives: Chairman: Bill Watts; CEO: Anthony Sapienza; President, JA Brand Group: Kenton Selvey; SVP, tailored: Ross Gershkowitz.

Jockey International International was founded in 1876 by retired minister Samuel T. Cooper as a hosiery company. In those days, lumberjacks wore wool socks that often caused blisters and infections and Cooper wanted to help by creating socks that would be comfortable for the wearer. Now Jockey’s men’s offerings, 60 percent of the business, include underwear, activewear, sleep-and loungewear, socks and shapewear for 120 countries.
The privately held company is still headquartered in Kenosha, Wisc. and focuses on innovation, comfort and quality. New for spring 2011 is the Staycool collection, which Ed Emma, president and COO, describes as “a collection of men’s and women’s underwear that uses technology developed for astronauts’ space suits to regulate skin temperature by trapping excess body heat, storing it, and re-releasing it, helping the wearer stay cool and comfortable all day long. It’s the only underwear of its kind on the market, and though it just shipped 2/25, we’re already seeing early signs of a very successful launch.”
Executives: Chairman & CEO: Debra Waller; COO: Edward Emma; SVP, CFO & CIO: Frank Schneider.

Kenneth Cole Productions his famous stunt using a film crew and a trailer full of shoes to get wholesale attention for his new footwear brand in 1982, Kenneth Cole has grown Kenneth Cole Productions (KCP) to a $457 million company ($411 million in sales, $46 million in licensing in 2010) with multiple brands across all categories. Through Kenneth Cole New York, Kenneth Cole Reaction (exclusive to Macy’s since fall 2010) and under private labels for retailers, the company markets and manufactures footwear and leather accessories for men, women and children. All other categories are licensed. KCP also owns the brands Unlisted (footwear and accessories, teen men and women, moderate) and Le Tigre (was JCPenney exclusive, expired in July 2010) brand names, as well as footwear under the proprietary trademark Gentle Souls (women’s footwear).
While KCP has enjoyed notoriety for its mostly product-less ads bearing clever left-leaning slogans, it was criticized for a tweet that suggested the political uprising in Egypt was spurred by news of Kenneth Cole’s spring collection.
Executives: Chairman, chief creative officer and interim CEO: Kenneth Cole (Cole recently—and perhaps temporarily—took back the reigns as CEO when Jill Granoff left the company). Vice chairman: Paul Blum; CFO: David Edelman; President, licensing and international: Michael DeVirgilio; President of wholesale: Chris Nakatani.

Lacoste 1933, Rene Lacoste changed the tennis apparel world when he introduced the white ‘petit pique’ cotton polo. His shirts were made with aired mesh which helped absorb perspiration, a cooling replacement for the classic long-sleeved woven shirts that men traditionally wore while playing the game. These polos caught on with the masses, and in 2009 12.3 million polo shirts were sold in 114 countries. Now Lacoste is a full lifestyle collection and recently introduced Lacoste Live, a contemporary line for spring 2011. Lacoste Live combines the brand’s original style with street art and will offer pieces like polo shirts, jeans and track jackets in slimmer fits.
Executives: CEO, U.S.: Steve Birkhold.
  • Lacoste S.A. is owned 65 percent by the Lacoste family and 35 percent by Devanlay, its worldwide clothing licensee.
  • Licenses: Devanlay for apparel and leathergoods, Pentland for footwear, Procter &Gamble for fragrances, Marchon for eyewear, Movado for watches and Collaert for belts.
  • In 1923, Rene Lacoste made a bet with the captain of the French Davis Cup team, Allan H. Muhr, who promised him an alligator suitcase if he won. It was reported in the Boston Evening Transcript, where his nickname “The Crocodile” came to life. The moniker highlighted the tenacity he displayed on the courts. A friend drew the crocodile which was eventually embroidered onto the blazer he wore to matches.
  • Lacoste sells to Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor and Macy’s as well as their own full-price and outlet stores.

Levi’s brands can sell across almost all retail channels and still maintain authenticity, credibility and a cool-factor. Levi’s is one of those brands that can, and does it well. The epitome of heritage, Levi Strauss & Co. created the first blue jean in 1873 and remains a leader in the industry, always on the forefront of fashion, marketing and social responsibility.
Levi’s recently launched WaterIn order to open new retail accounts, the Docker’s brand revamped the men’s line by introducing a range of new fits, styles and finishes, and released its second collaboration with popular designer Steven Alan. The 2010 Levi’s “Go Forth” ad campaign was launched so customers could rediscover the brand and similarly Docker’s 2010 “Wear the Pants” campaign was introduced to reinvigorate the entire khaki category by bringing a sense of modern masculinity to the collection.
Executives: President & CEO: John Anderson; President, global Levi’s brand: Robert Hanson; President, global Dockers brand: Jim Calhoun.
  • Total company sales of $4.4 billion for 2010 were up 7 percent from 2009; menswear sales also grew year over year.
  • Levi’s and Docker’s products are sold in nearly 55,000 retail locations globally in over 110 countries and there are over 450 Levi’s stores worldwide.

Li & Fung Group/Limited/LF USA questions you hear most frequently about Li & Fung and their U.S. Subsidiary LF USA are not about who they are selling, but rather who they are buying. The massive global sourcing giant, with a stated goal of reaching $20 billion in sales this year, has made several major purchases and licensing deals since 2009 and, last year, hired respected menswear executive Paul Rosengard to build their U.S. men’s business.The company acquired the giant childrenswear company Kids Headquarters in 2009. They made several more deals in 2010 including a licensing deal for Sean John men’s sportswear and activewear, the purchase of accessories company Cipriani, and the December 2010 purchase of the Oxford Apparel Group from Oxford Clothing for $121 million. There is no doubt that several more acquisitions are on the horizon.The parent company is already the biggest supplier of goods to Target. They recently completed an agreement to source products for Walmart, and have others in place with Hudson’s Bay, Zara, Marks & Spencer and many other retailers worldwide. In 2009, they took on all sourcing for Liz Claiborne brands and make for many other vendors as well. They have 140 offices in more than 40 countries.
One has to ask if this is the roadmap for the future of the apparel business. Will a few global giants control almost everything out there? It’s certainly not beyond the realm of possibility.
Executives: President, LF USA: Rick Darling.

Nike, Inc., was incorporated in 1968. The company, started by current chairman Philip H. Knight, was originally an importer of Japanese running shoes. The legend is that a graphic design freelancer created the now iconic Nike “swoosh” logo for $35. The rest is history.
Nike now reports $19 billion in revenues. It employs 34,400 people. It is the largest seller of athletic footwear and apparel in the world. The brand can be found in over 170 countries, with apparel made by independent contractors in China, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Cambodia, El Salvador, Mexico and Taiwan. The company reports that 42 percent of its revenue comes from its wholly-owned brands Cole Haan, Converse, Jordan and Hurley International, as well as its subsidiary, U.K.-based Umbro, Ltd. Nike has 23,000 retail accounts, as well as its own retail outlets, which include 145 Nike factory stores, 12 Nike stores, 11 Niketown stores, 106 Cole Haan stores, 51 Converse factory stores and 18 Hurley stores in the United States, not to mention and various e-commerce websites for its other brands.
Executives: Chairman: Philip Knight; President & CEO, Nike, Inc.: Mark Parker; President, Nike Brand: Charlie Denson.

Oxford Industries Industries is a company in transition, and most observers agree that it’s a good one. Over the last several years, the company has strived to be more of a brand owner than a licensing partner and private label company. In 2010, they took two major steps in this direction, selling their Oxford Shirt division to Li & Fung at about the same time that they acquired the iconic Lily Pulitzer label. Add that to the powerful Tommy Bahama brand, the Ben Sherman business, and the Billy London label developed within their healthy Lanier Clothing division, and the company seems poised for further growth.
Tommy Bahama continues to be the company’s strongest business, with expansion of retail stores, e-commerce and women’s fashions, in addition to their strong position in men’s with major retailers. They recently announced plans to open a flagship store in New York on Fifth Avenue. Their largest wholesale customers are Nordstrom and Macy’s.
Lanier also has a significant licensed brand and private label business under the Geoffrey Beene, Dockers and Kenneth Cole labels and with private label programs for Macy’s, JCPenney and Sears, in addition to marketing their own Billy London and Arnold Brant labels. Oxford Golf remains as a separate division as well.
Ben Sherman has been a work in progress for several years. The British lifestyle brand has undergone many changes, most recently deciding to focus on the men’s business, plus retail, licensing and e-commerce. More than half the Ben Sherman business is in the U.K.
Executives: Chairman & CEO: J. Hicks Lanier; President: Thomas Chubb; CEO, Tommy Bahama Group:Terry Pillow; Pres., Lanier Clothes: Dennis MacCulloch; CEO, Ben Sherman: Panayiotis Philippou.
  • Brands: Tommy Bahama, Ben Sherman, Lily Pulitzer, Billy London, Arnold Brant, Oxford Golf.
  • Licenses: Geoffrey Beene, Kenneth Cole, Dockers.
  • Retail: over 100 company-owned retail stores under the Tommy Bahama and Ben Sherman brands.

Peerless Clothing Peerless Clothing was founded in 1919. Its current leader, chairman and CEO Alvin Segal, has been with the company since 1951. Ron Wurtzburger, Peerless’s engaging U.S. president, joined in 1989 when the Free Trade Agreement gave Peerless access to the U.S. market. Together they have made Peerless, which does an estimated $400 million in business, the largest manufacturer of men’s tailored clothing in North America. The Montreal factory produces an estimated 25,000 suits per week.
Peerless produces tailored clothing under license for Lauren Ralph Lauren, Chaps, Calvin Klein, CK Calvin Klein, Elie Tahari, DKNY, Sean John, Michael Kors, Bill Blass, Van Heusen, Report Collection, Izod, Joseph Abboud (boys) and owns the Tallia Orange label, which is growing internationally.
Executives: Chairman & CEO: Alvin Segal; President, U.S.: Ron Wurtzburger.

Perry Ellis International Ellis International is a true American success story. George Feldenkreis, a Cuban immigrant, came to America 50 years ago and, in a short time, became a successful menswear entrepreneur. His company, Supreme International, began selling guayabera shirts and then Feldini pants, but Feldenkreis was always looking for the next opportunity.
George and his son Oscar proved to be savvy investors, taking Supreme International public in 1993 and picking up brands along the way, including Munsingwear, with its Penguin logo, Crossings, John Henry, Manhattan and, in 1999, Perry Ellis, subsequently renaming the company and changing its identity forever. Since then, they have added at least a dozen well known labels like Jantzen, Gotcha, Savane, Farah and Redsand, and licensed others including PGA Tour and Callaway. They have created the successful brands Natural Issue, Cubavera and Havanera, developed the Axist brand for Kohl’s, and built an extensive licensing business. Most recently, they demonstrated their intent to be a significant player in women’s with the acquisitions of Laundry by Shelli Segal, C&C California and Rafaella. Their newest acquisitions were the trademarks Anchor Blue and Millers Outpost from the defunct chain, indicating that the company is ready to tackle the jeans market as well.
PEI knows how to deal with big retailers, producing over $400 million, or about 57 percent, of the corporation’s sales, from department, mid-tier and mass merchant stores. The overwhelming majority of their business is directed towards men, leaving lots of room for growth in the women’s market.
Executives: Chairman & CEO: George Feldenkreis; Vice Chairman, President & COO: Oscar Feldenkreis.
  • Brands: Perry Ellis, Savane, Farah, Cubavera, Penguin, Axis, Mondo di Marco, Jantzen, Natural Issue, Pro-Player, Tricots St. Raphael and many more.

Polo Ralph Lauren“I’m not a fashion person. I’m anti-fashion. I don’t like to be part of that world. It’s too transient,” said Ralph Lauren, early in his career. “I have never been influenced by it. I’m interested in longevity, timelessness, style—not fashion.”
When Ralph Lifshitz, a kid from the Bronx, changed his name to Ralph Lauren and started selling ties in 1967, he began a business that reinvented American fashion. By 1969, he had his own shop-in-shop at Bloomingdale’s, a menswear first; as of mid-2009, the company had about 10,000 shop-in-shops worldwide. Although he was untrained as a designer (“I was a young guy who had some style,” he has said), his fashion instincts have always been slightly ahead of his peers, but timed just right for major mass appeal. In just over 40 years, Polo Ralph Lauren has grown into a $5 billion business with more than a dozen brands.
Executives: Chairman & CEO: Ralph Lauren; President & COO: Roger Farah; Executive vice president: Jackwyn Nemerov; CFO: Tracey T. Travis.
  • Brands: Polo by Ralph Lauren, Ralph Lauren Purple Label, Ralph Lauren Collection, Black Label, Blue Label, Lauren by Ralph Lauren, RRL, RLX, Rugby, Ralph Lauren Childrenswear, American Living, Chaps and Club Monaco. Ralph by Ralph Lauren is a Dillard’s exclusive. American Living is a JCPenney exclusive. Chaps for women, children and home is a Kohl’s exclusive, but Chaps menswear is available other places.
  • 1999: Acquired Club Monaco.
  • 2000: Launched
  • 2004: Launched Rugby, a Polo-like retailer aimed at 16 to 25-year-old demographic.
  • Revenue for fiscal year ending April 2010: $5.6 billion.
  • Wholesale: $2.8 billion.
  • Retail: $1.9 billion.
  • Licensing: $195.2 million.
  • U.S./Canada: $3.6 billion.
  • Wholesale clients: Polo Ralph Lauren derives half of its business from seven major department stores, and 19 percent of it from Macy’s.
  • Major licensees: Luxottica Group eyewear, 11 percent of licensing total; L’Oreal fragrance, cosmetics, 9 percent of total; Peerless (Chaps, Lauren, Ralph and American Living tailored clothing), 9 percent of total. Other licensees include Hanes Brands for underwear and sleepwear and Warnaco for Chaps sportswear.
  • Manufacturing: Two percent domestic, 98 percent in Asia, Europe and South America. The company uses more than 350 different manufacturers, with none doing more than 8 percent of total production.
  • U.S. employees: 12,000
  • Retail stores, U.S. and Canada: Ralph Lauren: 64; Club Monaco: 66; Rugby: 11; Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Outlet: 136.

Phillips-Van Heusen top executive of Phillips-Van Heusen is quoted as saying that the acquisition of Calvin Klein changed the company “from anonymous to famous.” If that’s true, then the 2010 acquisition of Tommy Hilfiger, with its extensive worldwide distribution, has taken it up one more level, to world class. However, this huge corporation, with over $4 billion in sales, has its roots strongly embedded in menswear.
In North American menswear, the company has the dominant share of both the dress shirt and neckwear markets (the latter as a result of the 2007 acquisition of Superba), and a strong sportswear component led by the powerhouse Izod brand, in addition to Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein.
PVH is generally seen by the menswear community as one of its own, as several of the top execs have menswear backgrounds. The company is now regarded as one of the most important, well run and admired in the entire apparel business.
Executives: Chairman & CEO: Emanuel Chirico; President & COO: Allen Sirkin; Vice Chairman, Wholesale: Ken Duane.
  • Breakdown: wholesale 50 percent, retail 40 percent, licensing 10 percent.
  • Largest wholesale customers: Macy’s, JCPenney, Kohl’s.
  • Owned brands: Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Izod, Van Heusen, Bass, Arrow, Eagle,
  • Licensed brands: Axcess, Chaps, Claiborne, DKNY, Donald Trump, Elie Tahari, Ike Behar, J. Garcia, JOE Joseph Abboud, Jones New York, Kenneth Cole, Michael Kors, Nautica, Robert Graham, Sean John, Ted Baker, Timberland, US Polo Association.

Randa, which celebrated its 100th anniversary last year, started as a neckwear business founded by brothers Harry and Sam Spiegel. The company got its current name when second generation owner Herb Spiegel acquired the Rosenberg and Aptaker (R and A) neckwear business.
Now Randa is the largest company focused on men’s accessories, mostly selling licensed brands, with clients like Levi’s, Dockers, Columbia Sportswear, Dickies, Geoffrey Beene, Perry Ellis, Nautica, Timberland, Tommy Bahama, Original Penguin, Chaps, American Living, Ben Sherman, Ike Behar, Champion, Claiborne and Weatherproof. Randa is also the largest provider of private label men’s accessories, servicing retailers such as Walmart, Macy’s, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Costco, Nordstrom and Sears.
Randa owns the Countess Mara (neckwear), Trafalgar (luxury leather accessories and braces), Ventura, Travel Gear and X-Gear (the last three luggage and gifts) brands, and got into the in-store merchandising business when it acquired Humphreys Accessories in 2001. That merchandising unit operates independently as Market Connect Group (MCG), the largest in-store merchandising company for department stores, with 2,500 of its own employees. Randa got into the luggage business in 2007 with the acquisition of Badanco, now Randa Luggage.
Executives: CEO: Jeffrey Spiegel; SVP & chief marketing officer: David Katz.
  • Employees: about 3,500; 2,500 in MCG.
  • The three largest parts of Randa’s business are leather goods (of which belts is the largest part), neckwear and luggage (of which structured luggage is the largest part).
  • Randa’s licensed business is its largest division, followed closely by private label, with owned brands making up the smallest part.
  • Randa has design offices in Como, Italy (the largest); New York; Toronto; London and Melbourne.
  • More than 60 percent of Randa’s business is in the U.S.
  • 2010 sales: nearly $500 million.
  • Randa sold its one-billionth tie in 2010. And its Countess Mara advertising (that still runs in several major publications) is legendary.

Smart Apparel Apparel U.S., once Kellwood’s Smart Shirts business, is now a division of the Chinese apparel and property conglomerate Youngor, which acquired it in 2007 for $120 million in cash.
Smart Apparel is now led by CEO Robert Skinner, who was formerly the chief executive of Kellwood and Lacoste. It is licensed for Nautica, Andrew Marc and Marc New York by Andrew Marc tailored clothing and dress shirts, and Perry Ellis Portfolio tailored clothing.
The company does a huge and little-known private label business making shirts for clients like Charles Tyrwhitt, Club Monaco, Polo Ralph Lauren, Nautica, Thomas Pink, JCPenney, Dillard’s, Jos. A. Bank, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Belk, Bon-Ton Stores, Bloomingdale’s, L.L. Bean and Casual Male XL.
When Youngor acquired Smart Shirts in 2007, it had 14 manufacturing operations in mainland China, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. The company is a totally vertical supplier, with owned fabric mills and sewing factories.
Executives: CEO: Robert Skinner.

Swank in 1897 in Attleboro, Mass., Swank is one of the oldest men’s accessories companies in the business. Swank produces men’s jewelry, belts, personal leather accessories and gifts, with 2010 net sales of $132.7 million, a 15 percent increase over 2009. The company got out of the manufacturing business about five years ago, a move that CEO John Tulin credited with saving it.
Its three largest customers, Macy’s (20 percent), Kohl’s (17 percent) and the TJX Companies (10 percent), accounted for nearly half of Swank’s most recently reported annual sales. International sales were about 8 percent of total.
Licenses include Kenneth Cole, Kenneth Cole Reaction, Guess, Tumi, Nautica, Claiborne, Chaps, Geoffrey Beene, Buffalo David Bitton, Pierre Cardin, Tommy Hilfiger, Donald J. Trump Signature Collection, U.S. Polo Assn. and Steve Harvey.
Swank does private label accessories business with Belk, Bloomingdale’s, Dillard’s JCPenney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sears and Stage Stores.
Executives: Chairman & CEO: John Tulin; President: Rick Luft; EVP & CFO: Jerold R. Kassner; SVP merchandising: James Tulin; SVP distribution and retail: Paul Duckett; SVP special markets: Melvin Goldfeder; SVP regional sales: William Rubin.
  • Employees: 275

TAL/TAG–The Apparel Group is the U.S. arm of the huge Hong Kong-based TAL Group, a major worldwide player with 14 factories and more than 22,000 employees. However, TAG is a significant player on its own. The company, which is known for its dress shirts, also does a substantial private label business in sportswear, knits, outerwear and pants, with major programs at Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Lord & Taylor and other stores. They compete at the upper moderate to better end of the market.
TAG is the parent company of the Enro label, which is one of the more significant brands in specialty stores, and of Damon, which has been recently resurrected. Their distribution facility in Lewisville, Texas is one of the most technologically advanced today, leading them to create a new logistics group with the goal of consolidating shipments to and for leading retailers, with the potential of making replenishment far more efficient and saving money for both their retail customers and partnering vendors.
Executives: COO: John Liu; Executive vice president: Mark Walz.

VF Corporation

VF used to call itself the global leader in building powerful apparel brands, and there are few who would argue with that. However, over the last several years, they have also become a leader in active and outdoor products. The $7 billion corporation is divided into five divisions or coalitions, as they like to call them. The jeanswear coalition includes the iconic Lee and Wrangler brands. Designer brand Nautica anchors the sportswear coalition, while the contemporary division is represented in men’s by John Varvatos and 7 for All Mankind. The North Face is housed within the outdoor and action sports coalition along with several other brands that are leaders including Jansport, Reef, Napapijri, Kipling and Eagle Creek.
The company name is derived from the Vanity Fair brand, sold to the Fruit of the Loom division of Berkshire Hathaway in 2007. However, the company dates back to the Reading Glove and Mitten Manufacturing Company, founded in 1899. The current corporation is a broad mix of wholesale and retail distribution, domestic and international sales, contemporary and heritage brands. VF’s 10 largest customers account for more than 25 percent of sales, including Walmart, which accounts for about 10 percent of corporate sales.
Executives: Chairman, President &CEO: Eric Wiseman; President, Outdoor & Action Sports Americas: Steve Rendle; Group President, Jeanswear Americas & Imagewear: Scott Baxter; President, Contemporary Brands Coalition: Susan Kellogg; President Sportswear: Karen Murray.
  • Brands:Sportswear coalition: Nautica; Jeanswear: Lee, Wrangler, Rustler; Outdoor and Action: North Face, Kipling, Eagle Creek, Napapijri, Eastpak, Reef, Lucy, Van; Contemporary Brands: John Varvatos, 7 for All Mankind, Ella Moss, Splendid; Imagewear: Bulwark, Red Kap, The Force, Majestic.

Warnaco is a sexy public company. Currently known for its dominant Calvin Klein jeans, underwear and swimwear businesses, their ads feature images that are burned into the psyches of consumers worldwide.
Warnaco business in men’s is driven by their licensed Calvin Klein and Chaps brands, plus their Speedo swimwear business. Calvin Klein is the dominant brand in the company, accounting for about 75 percent of worldwide business, with jeans, underwear and swimwear being the major categories. However, in men’s, Chaps sportswear is a very significant business, at over $150 million.
The Calvin Klein jeans business is licensed from PVH, the owner of the Calvin Klein trademark. However, the underwear and swimwear businesses were not included in the 2002 Calvin Klein deal with PVH, and Warnaco retains the rights to those categories. Total corporate sales in 2010 were almost $2.3 billion, including their owned women’s intimate apparel brands Warner’s and Olga. They do more business internationally than in the United States.
Executives: President & CEO: Joseph Gromek; President, Warnaco Sportswear Group: Frank Tworecke; Group President, Intimate apparel and swimwear: Martha Olson.
  • Owned brands: Warner’s, Olga.
  • Licensed brands: Calvin Klein, Speedo, Chaps.
  • Fredrik Ljungberg, the Swedish born soccer player for the English Premier League, has served as the exclusive model for Calvin Klein Underwear since his first appearance in the brand’s advertising campaigns in Fall 2003.

Weatherproof/David Peyser Sportswear’s Fred Stollmack has parlayed what might otherwise be a fairly conventional outerwear business into a national branded presence through innovative marketing and public relations. The Weatherproof brand, which was launched with a single microfiber jacket in 1991, has proven to be both enduring and formidable. The newest label, 32 Degrees Heat has the potential, according to Stollmack, to be even larger than the original. The company has both branded and private label outerwear, in addition to sweaters and sportswear, plus a healthy licensing component with well over a dozen licensees, doing business in stores from Nordstrom and Macy’s to mid-tier and off-price. There are plans to open a flagship store in New York this fall and further expansion and licensing in England, Mexico and other markets is already happening.
David Peyser Sportswear, the parent company, also does business as MV Sport in decorated apparel sold in college bookstores, golf shops and other outlets.
Executives: CEO: Eliot Peyser; President: Fred Stollmack.
  • Categories: outerwear, sportswear, licensing.
  • Brands: Weatherproof, 32 Degrees Heat, Impermeable.

Zegna (Ermenegildo Zegna Group) independent retailers talk about Zegna, it’s often to brag that they were the first in their region to carry the Italian brand. The iconic 101-year-old luxury brand from Trivero was founded as a wool mill by Ermenegildo Zegna when he was just 18 years old. The Ermenegildo Zegna Group is still a family business, run today by CEO Gildo Zegna and chairman Paolo Zegna. The company boasted $1.13 billion in sales for the fiscal year ending April 2010. That same year, Zegna’s emerging markets overtook its traditional markets—the U.S. and Japan—in total sales; China is now the company’s biggest market, with Brazil and India showing huge growth (38 percent and 69 percent, respectively). Retail sales were 70 percent of Zegna’s business, with wholesale making up the rest.
Executives: CEO: Gildo Zegna; Chairman: Paolo Zegna.
  • Brands: Ermenegildo Zegna, Zegna Sport, Z Zegna.
  • Major retail accounts include Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.
  • Retail stores: nearly 600 in 2010, more than 300 of them owned.
  • Zegna was the first company to advertise on trains in Italy.
  • Zegna opened a fully-owned store in China in Beijing in 1991—the first luxury menswear brand to do so.


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