NGC Customers Continue to Make Big Splash in Apparel “Top 50”July 14, 2016
Every year Apparel Magazine ranks the “Top 50” companies in the apparel industry and this year we are honored to announce that six of the “Top 50” are NGC Software customers. This year’s “Top 50” made their mark by proving they can “innovate with product, win the hearts of the consumer, balance their footprint, and bring home the profits.”
Congrats to our NGC customers in the “Top 50,” including: VF Corp., the company behind big brands Vans, The North Face and many more, at No. 6; UniFirst at No. 12; Carter’s, who also owns customer OshKosh, at No. 13; G&K Services at No. 20; Delta Apparel at No. 36; and rounding out the list, Destination XL.
Here’s what Apparel had to say about the brands:
- No. 6, VF Corp.: You can’t help but be inspired by the stories of The North Face’s Never Stop Exploring® campaign, the company’s first expansive view of exploration and its first truly global brand effort. Check out the spots — you’ll be joining a large group. The campaign has received more than 1 billion impressions. VF’s more than 30 diverse brands include the iconic Vans®, The North Face®, Timberland, Lee and Wrangler — each of which exceeded $1 billion in annual revenue. Just a few other highlights from the year: 1) The Vans® and The North Face® brands came together in 2015 to launch a joint collection of popular limited-edition shoes and outerwear; 2) Chief Executive magazine named VF to the top 10 in its 2016 Best Companies for Leaders list; 3) VF saw great performance in running and training apparel driven by Mountain Athletics, which grew more than 40 percent; 4) 36 percent of sales came from outside the United States; 5) VF sourced or produced more than 550 million units of apparel and footwear, 23 percent at its own locations and 77 percent with contract suppliers, along the way establishing VF’s Responsible Sourcing program; 6) The North Face received great response to the launch of a new store concept on London’s Regent Street, which allows athletes to train together in weekly sessions; and 7) Vans’ PROPELLER skateboarding lm was one of iTunes top 10 documentaries of the year and was named TransWorld SKATEboarding’s film of the year.
- No. 12, UniFirst: It was another record year for the company, which hit highs of $1.5 billion in revenues and $124.3 million in net income, led by its core laundry operations, which make up 90 percent of total business and in 2015 achieved record new account sales, continued improvement in operational and service efficiencies in its hundreds of local service facilities and positive trends in customer pricing and add-on services. These gains were achieved despite losses of wearers associated with lower oil prices in energy and energy related industries, which reverberated throughout the uniform market, as well as a weaker Canadian dollar exchange rate that negatively affected both top and bottom line…In 2015, the company made several small acquisitions, primarily in its laundry operations, and continues to look for acquisition targets.
- No. 13, Carter’s: It turned in record sales and earnings in 2015 and its 27th consecutive year of sales growth, opened more than 100 new stores in North America and began e-commerce capabilities in China via the launch of its Carter’s brand on Alibaba’s Tmall, which received more than 12 million visits last year. Young children’s is the fastest-growing apparel segment in China, estimated at $12 billion and projected to more than double to $25 billion by 2025. In the United States, the segment grew about 2 percent last year to $20.5 billion, with Carter’s piece of the pie growing to 17 percent. The company continues to improve its mobile experience, with demand on mobile devices more than doubling in 2015. In Q4, the company launched a new customer loyalty program, called Rewarding Moments, which enrolled more than five million shoppers in just the first four months. In the next five years the company expects to open 270 Carter’s stores, most in its new side-by-side format, which brings together the Carter’s and OshKosh B’gosh brands in one location, a model that has kicked up the performance of its OshKosh brand. E-commerce sales were up 20 percent in 2015; even as international demand fell seven percent, due to the strong dollar, domestic sales were up 40 percent.
- No. 20, G&K Services: It made progress toward the 12+ Plan it introduced two years ago, targeting 12 percent operating margin (it hit 11.9 percent) and 12 percent ROIC (it reached 11 percent), with an additional focus on top-line growth. Revenue grew to $937 million, with organic revenue growth of 5.6 percent, topping the previous year’s 4.5 percent. The year saw record customer satisfaction scores and record new accounts sales, and in 2016, the company’s Game Plan to: 1) keep its customer promise; 2) improve how it targets customers; 3) drive operational excellence and 4) strengthen its high-performing team is producing results, as, three quarters into the current fiscal year, G&K is on pace to turn in the highest full-year operating cash flow in company history, even as it struggles, along with the rest of its competitors, with a net loss of uniform wearers at existing accounts, particularly in the oil and gas industries, as well as in related manufacturing.
- No. 36, Delta Apparel: The company made progress on several strategic initiatives designed to lower fixed salary cost, de-layer management to speed decision making, improve its manufacturing platform, and exit markets that did not fit the long-term growth and profit goals of the company. Resulting cost savings and improvements in efficiency helped drive improved gross margins in the last half of fiscal year 2015. Delta also sold its collegiate license headwear business under “The Game” label. It made investments in screenprinting equipment to expand capacity, lower cost, and improve quality, and also decided to install open-width finishing equipment in its Ceiba Textile facility to greatly reduce or eliminate externally purchased fabric and provide broader fabric and apparel design flexibility going forward — investments that should save approximately $2 million dollars annually. Digital printing business Art Gun, a start-up just a few years ago, is now its fastest-growing operation, and the company purchased additional equipment during the year to meet demand.
- No. 50, Destination XL: Its position at the bottom of the chart belies the upward trajectory of the big-and-tall retailer, which has undergone an enormous transition since 2012, now has five full years of experience with the DXL concept (after rebranding from Casual Male) and has developed and refined a steady operating model, with 15 consecutive quarters of comp-store sales growth of more than 8.5 percent. Its successful marketing strategies — brand awareness has increased from just 13 percent three years ago to 38 percent — are enabling fewer discounts, and less spending on marketing. Better awareness also boosted the conversion rate of customers migrating from Casual Male to DXL by five percent, which drove a 6.2 percent increase in total transactions at DXL stores, with average dollar spend up 3.3 per- cent for the year. Now five quarters into its smaller-format stores, it’s been able to develop an effective model for those as well. This year, it plans to open approximately 31 DXL stores (and close approximately 26 Casual Male XL stores and three Casual Male outlets) with roughly two-thirds being smaller format or outlet stores. In Q4, the company — which already has online demand from more than 100 countries that it is servicing today — announced plans to expand internationally with the hiring of Nancy Youssef, an SVP of international business development, which it will do via a franchise and licensing strategy. It already has one franchise store open in Kuwait City, and expects others to open in spring 2017.