NGC Customers Make Strong Showing in Apparel “Top 50”July 30, 2015
Every year Apparel Magazine ranks the “Top 50” companies in the apparel industry and this year we are honored to announce that five of the “Top 50” are NGC Software customers. This year’s “Top 50” shared one common factor, they all drove sales through customer engagement.
Congrats to our NGC customers in the “Top 50,” including: UniFirst at No. 9; VF Corp., the company behind big brands Vans and The North Face, at No. 10; Carter’s, who also owns customer OshKosh, at No. 19; G&K Services at No. 21; and rounding out the top 50 is Destination XL. [[more]]
Here’s what Apparel had to say about the brands:
- No. 9, UniFirst: It set new records for revenues and net income by continuing to gain market share in existing service areas, entering new geographic areas, adding new product lines to its core offering and increasing its customer base. Core Laundry Operations, which made up 90 percent of UniFirst’s total business, reported a 5.7 percent revenue increase and an 8.9 percent income increase year-over-year (after adjusting for an extra week in 2013) — new records for this segment. Its Specialty Garment division, which provides workwear and other specialized services specifically for the nuclear and cleanroom industries, was down, largely a result of less project-based and nuclear outage work for the year in the United States and Canada. Similarly, its First Aid & Safety segment reported essentially flat revenues and slightly lower profits. For 2015, the company anticipates another solid year of growth and profitability, although it cites a decline in oil prices as a potential risk due to the company’s strong presence in Texas and surrounding markets, a region that is strongly tied to that industry. The company acquired one plant operation in Indiana — which will add approximately $5 million to its revenues in 2015 — and continues to seek additional acquisition targets.
- No. 10, VF Corp.: Off the wall! In 2014, VF opened its second permanent House of Vans® location, which occupies the Old Vic Tunnels beneath London’s Waterloo railway station and includes a music venue, art gallery, cinema, café, bar and London’s only indoor skate park. Vans also became the second $2 billion brand in VF’s portfolio, following on the heels of The North Face®. Just a few other highlights from the 115-year-old company that boasts more than 30 brands and 59,000 associates spanning virtually all ages, lifestyles and continents: 1) Record revenues of $12.3 billion were led by 13 percent growth in its Outdoor & Action Sports coalition, while international business grew 9 percent and direct-to-consumer business was up 19 percent; 2) a new distribution center opened in Kunshan, China; 3) Asia-Pacific operations surpassed $1 billion in annual revenue for the first time in 2014. Revenue in the region has grown by more than 600 percent since 2007, and VF expects it to continue as its fastest growing region; 4) the company released its first comprehensive global Sustainability & Responsibility report; and 5) it was named one of the 2014 Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders® in North America.
- No. 19, Carter’s: It logged its 26th consecutive year of sales growth, and in 2014 opened
more than 100 new stores in North America, launched new e-commerce
capabilities in Canada, completed the build out of its multichannel DC in
Georgia, and negotiated more favorable product costs for 2015. It also
gained market share, to approximately 16.5 percent of the $19.7 billion
children’s apparel market. Online demand for both the Carter’s and
OshKosh brands has been strong and is the company’s fastest-growing,
highest-margin business, with e-commerce sales up 28 percent, driven by
growth in traffic and conversion rates. Last year, nearly 30 percent of the
demand came from mobile devices, including tablets, and the company is
investing in new systems to enable customers to shop online and pick up in
its stores. More than 40 percent of demand on its U.S. website came from international markets, with sales to Chinese consumers nearly $16 million — more than double the previous year. It is by far the fastest-growing international market for the company online, and the company will launch new e-commerce capabilities in China this year. Also in 2015, Carter’s will launch a new cross- channel, cross-brand customer loyalty program, “rewarding moments.” Over the next five years, it plans to open 300 Carter’s and 250 OshKosh stores, most in its new side-by-side store format.
- No. 21, G&K Services: In 2014 the company made progress on the 12+ Plan it introduced last year, targeting 12 percent operating margin and 12 percent ROIC within two to four years. The company also achieved record-high customer satisfaction scores, new high levels of productivity in its laundry processing plants, and a record-low accident rate. It also achieved the highest level of new account sales in its history. Sticking to the plan it set down five years ago, G&K more than doubled annual adjusted operating income from $49 million to $100 million in 2014, and more than doubled ROIC from 4.9 percent to 10.2 percent. For 2015, it will plan to increase capital spending, investing in tools and IT to improve customer service and productivity gains, and will also invest in capacity expansion while seeking acquisition opportunities that support its Game Plan of keeping its Customer Promise, improving how it targets customers, driving operational excellence and strengthening its team.
- No. 50, Destination XL: It may be in the red, but it’s made leaps and bounds toward getting back to profitability as its DXL transformation strategy takes hold, and Q4 saw comp sales up 16.4 percent, the company’s seventh consecutive quarter of double-digit DXL store comps growth. The company holds some other aces in its pocket: 1) it is by far the largest player in the big-and-tall industry, both in brick-and-mortar stores and online traffic; and 2) it has many years of intelligence on the big-and-tall customer in each market and each store, such that it knows where to put its new stores, in what footprint and what sizes of each product to stock. Its strategy to keep Casual Male XL stores open for several months in markets where it opened new Destination XL stores has paid off, as the former serve as brand ambassadors, directing shoppers to the new DXL stores. Higher- quality ad placements, including spots during NFL and college football games on weekends, when its customers were more likely to go shopping, also drove sales. The customer base continues to grow, up 124 percent in 2014, with the average number of customers per store up 9 percent YOY and up 88 percent from the average count of legacy Casual Male XL stores. The company is bullish on its end-of-rack customers; it believes these younger, smaller-waisted, more brand-conscious shoppers make up nearly two-thirds of the total big-and-tall market —they represented 45 percent of the company’s bottoms business in Q4, and they also spend more per transaction. DXL will open approximately 40 stores this year, some in a smaller footprint, and the company enabled fulfill-from- store, giving the online customer visibility to all merchandise in the supply chain, including product only available in a small number of stores.
Download the full list of “Top 50” apparel companies, here.