Congratulations to Our 2017 Apparel “Top 50” Customers

Congratulations to Our 2017 Apparel “Top 50” Customers

July 26, 2017

Apparel Magazine has released the 2017 “Top 50” publicly traded apparel companies who have demonstrated that they are “working diligently to meet customer demand with innovative product, fast delivery and seamless experiences across channels, while facing down the challenges of a swiftly changing retail world.” We’re honored to announce that six NGC Software customers are featured in this year’s list.

We are so proud of our NGC customers in the “Top 50” and the ways they are working to meet consumers’ expectations. Included in the list are: VF Corp., the company behind big brands including The North Face, Timberland and Vans; Foot Locker; Carter’s; G&K Services; UniFirst; and Delta Apparel.

Here’s what Apparel had to say about our customers:

No. 11: VF Corp

Skaters rule, as Van’s edged out The North Face to become VF’s largest brand in 2016, (also Van’s 50th anniversary), with revenue up 7 percent. It was a good year for the branded lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories behemoth, with revenue up 1 percent to $12 billion; international sales up 6 percent to 38 percent of business, including double-digit growth in the non-U.S. Americas and in China; and D2C up 9 percent, including more than 20 percent in e-commerce. The global company thinks local when it comes to product — in 2016, the Lee brand in Asia launched a 360° approach tobody enhancement called BODY OPTIXTM denim, designing jeans that flatter and enhance the body based on the regional preferences, beliefs and desires of consumers in that part of the globe. VF moved forward with its stated goal to reshape its portfolio, exploring strategic alternatives for its Licensed Sports Group and, in August, selling its Contemporary Brand businesses. It also merged its lucy women’s product with The North Face brand. In 2017, the focus will be on its biggest three brands: Vans, The North Face and Timberland, while it will also look to opportunities to grow through acquisition.

No. 14: Foot Locker

The global athletic footwear and apparel giant, which operates 3,363 athletic retail stores in 23 countries under the banners Foot Locker, Champs Sports, Kids Foot Locker, Footaction, SIX:02, Lady Foot Locker, Runners Point and Sidestep, continued its growth streak, landing its all-time best financial and operating performance, with sales of $7.8 billion. Comp-store sales were up, for the seventh consecutive year, by 4.3 percent. Equally important, the company believes it has captured the center of sneaker culture by understanding the subtle differentiators between its brands and the customers who shop at them. It fine tunes its “muses,” which represent a variety of customer profiles, and serves them with unique and brand-appropriate digital experiences and trend-right assortments. Bucking the trend in slowing brick and mortar, the company opened 96 stores during the year, including a new flagship Foot Locker and SIX:02 store (its fashion fitness boutique for women) on 34th Street in midtown Manhattan. Forty-five of those new openings were Kids Foot Locker stores, a growing category spurred on by a generation of sneaker-savvy kids.

No. 16: Carter's

The children’s wear giant is undertaking several strategic initiatives to capitalize on its great financial performance in 2016, raking in nearly $3.2 billion in sales with a profit margin of 8.07 percent. It recently launched the Simple Joys brand exclusively for Amazon — bringing the total number of Carter brands on that e-commerce plat- form to four — following the same format for its exclusive brand partnerships established years ago with Target and Walmart. Carter’s other new brand, Skip Hop — acquired earlier in 2017 for $140 million — is expected to bring in $90 million in sales this year, a number that the company aims to double by 2021. Like many apparel retailers, Carter’s is looking to China for growth, and was recently recognized by Tmall — the e-commerce marketplace where it launched in 2015 — as one of the most popular apparel brands for young children. Also in China, Carter’s is working with $2-billion retailer Pou Sheng (which man- ages more than 8,000 store locations for brands including Nike and Levi’s) to open 14 stores to date, with 50 more planned by year’s end and as many as 200 or more over the next four years. Carter’s expects its business in China, coupled with opportunities in Canada, to help grow sales by $200 million by 2022.

No. 17: G&K Services

Adios, G&K — it’s been nice having you. Because the uniform and work apparel company was snapped up by Cintas for $2.2 billion immediately following the close of its fiscal year, this will be the last time G&K is making an appearance in the Top 50. With 2016 sales of $978 million — 4.3 percent higher than the year prior and resulting in a 7.4 percent profit margin — it’s no wonder G&K made such an attractive target for acquisition, even as the struggles in the oil industry have trickled down to professional uniform rental companies and shrunk the number of client accounts. Still, G&K kept a high profile in 2016 with its partnership with JD Motorsports and NASCAR, sponsoring No. 01 Chevrolet driver Ryan Preece for the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY series.


No. 18: UniFirst

The uniform services company, which outfits more than 1.6 million workers daily, slipped six places from last year, as it — like peers Cintas and G&K —faced considerable pressures
from some of the volatile industries it serves, such as oil & gas and nuclear reactor operators. Still, results such as $1.7 billion in sales — up 11 percent year over year — and a 7.35 percent pro t margin are nothing to sneeze at. Continuing the trend
of growth-by-acquisition, the company bolstered its business by doling out $122 million in September for Michigan-based Arrow Uniform, which now strengthens UniFirst’s operations in the Midwest — and expects the deal to add $60 million to its FY17 revenues. The company expects its capital expenditures to max out at $100 million this year as its invests in new facility additions, expansions, automation and a CRM systems project. As turbulence in energy doesn’t show signs of abating anytime soon, UniFirst is planning for revenues of between $1.55 billion and $1.565 billion this year, a dip from FY16.

No. 44: Delta Apparel Inc.

Sales were down 5.3 percent but profits were upfor the owner of the Delta Apparel, Soffe, Intensity Athletics, Salt Life, Art Gun and Coast brands as it took steps to positionitself for the future. It installed equipment to commence open-width fabric production at its Ceiba Textiles facility for expected savings of $2 million annually, and also completed a manufacturing realignment to lower cost and expand production output across most of its plants ($8 million in annualized savings). Its Art Gun brand saw strong sales and record operating profits, and it installed new digital print equipment to better service holiday demand as well as attract new customers. Salt Life achieved record operating profits on significant revenue growth, including a 20 percent increase at its Jacksonville Beach, Flagship store and significant growth in e-comm. It also opened a new retail store in San Clemente, Calif. The company opened a third-party DC in Chicago for quicker deliveries to its Delta Activewear customers in that region. It acquired Coast Apparel, a young brand in which it sees much potential, and in February opened a Coast flagship retail store in Greenville, S.C. It enhanced both its consumer and business-to-business websites and expanded its digital marketing programs. And it implemented leadership changes at its Soffe and Junkfood branded businesses, which in recent years have not performed to expectations.

Download the full list of “Top 50” apparel companies, here.