VF Corporation, owner of brands such as Vans, The North Face, Timberland, Eastpak and many more, improved its total sales by 6.5 percent to $2.8 billion for the first quarter (March 29) compared with the previous year. The results were again marked by a strong performance from the outdoor & action sports coalition, which increased its turnover by 14 percent to $1.6 billion. The gross margin of the entire company was up by 130 basis points to 49.4 percent, which is a record in the group’s history for all quarters so far. The operating profit jumped by 13 percent to $403 million.
The outdoor & action sports division improved in the U.S. and internationally as well as both in wholesale trade and own retail at double-digit pace. The North Face’s 14 percent sales increase was in line with the rest of that division. The progress came partly from a strong performance in corporate retail, which was up by 30 percent. While TNF’s business was up in the Americas in the high teens and in the mid teens percentage in Asia-Pacific, revenues in the EMEA region only increased in low single digits.
Action sports brand Vans, now the largest of all VF brands recorded a sales increase of 20 percent and was up across all regions. Vans’ sales soared by more than 20 percent in Europe and by 40 percent in Asia-Pacific, whereas sales in the Americas improved “only” in the lower teens. Timberland’s strongest growth in revenues was in the Americas in the high teens, in Asia in the low double digits and in Europe in the upper single digits. Altogether, Timberland moved forward with a 12 percent increase in sales globally.
VF expects the key figures for the full year to come out slightly higher than expected. Sales are now supposed to come out at the higher end of the originally expected 7-8 percent with the outdoor & action sports division at 12-13 percent. Gross margin is expected to reach about 49 percent, a figure that remains unchanged from earlier estimations.