Editor’s note: For details about how the VF-owned brands Vans and Dickies performed, see our sister site Shop Eat Surf.
The North Face was the standout performer for parent company VF Corp. for the 12 months ending in March, with revenue reaching $3.6 billion, a 17% increase in constant currency.
In the fourth quarter, total revenue for the brand reached $859.5 million, a 16% growth in constant currency.
“We delivered quarterly results in line with our guidance, led by ongoing strength in The North Face,” said Benno Dorer, interim president and CEO for VF Corp.
VF’s other major brands Vans, Timberland, and Dickies were either down or flat for the quarter.
The North Face Q4 Results
The North Face has seen broad-based growth across regions and channels, VF Corp said in an investor presentation. VF plans to invest in the brand to support marketplace sell-through, increased consumer acquisition, and category expansion.
The North Face’s global direct-to-consumer gains were driven by strong double-digit growth online and in stores, with DTC sales overall increasing 19%.
The North Face’s sales in the wholesale channel globally grew 14% in constant currency for the quarter.
Regionally, EMEA jumped 24% and the APAC region reported a 35% increase in sales. Americas sales increased 4% in constant currency, with slower growth in the region reflecting a challenging wholesale environment and inventory build.
The North Face Product Highlights
Dorer said the brand’s core snow sports category was a standout in Q4, with its Nuptse Jacket showing strong momentum.
The North Face’s product and marketing highlights during the quarter included:
- Vectiv footwear demonstrating “Proof is in the Podium,” with 120 race day podiums and 85 wins (and counting).
- Launching its inaugural Athlete Development Program, built to tackle systemic barriers in the recruitment process that often keep underrepresented groups from excelling in outdoor sports.
- XPLR PASS global loyalty membership grew by more than one million new members in the quarter, with a total of 18.5 million members at the end of Q4.
The company is increasing its investment in consumer acquisition, innovation, and marketplace sales, Dorer said.
“Our focus is to improve execution in the Americas,” Dorer said on a conference call with investors. “The first quarter will be difficult here as we work to gain the confidence of an already cautious set of U.S. wholesale customers.”
Emerging Outdoor Brands Also Strong in Q4
VF’s emerging outdoor brands, which includes Smartwool, Napapijri, and Icebreaker, were up 12% in revenue.
VF Q4 Results
Revenue for VF Corp. was $2.7 billion for the quarter, which was flat in constant currency.
The international business was up 8% in constant currency, with the EMEA region delivering its eighth consecutive quarter of growth. Greater China was up 10% in constant currency. The Americas region was down 7% in constant currency, primarily driven by reductions in the U.S. wholesale business.
During the fourth quarter, the company’s supply chain performance improved, with increased on-time performance and a reduction in inventory of $299 million.
VF’s sales in the wholesale channel were down 2% in constant currency for the quarter, while DTC sales increased 3%.
VF Fiscal Year 2023 Results
For the year, revenue was $11.6 billion, up 3% in constant currency.
International business was up 8% in constant currency, with the EMEA region up 12% in constant currency. The APAC region was up 1% in constant currency. The Americas region was down 1% in constant currency.
Dorer said that the company’s international business, particularly momentum in China, helped bolster results.
“As a result, we were able to close the fiscal year with 10 out of 12 brands flat or growing revenue, and five up double digits, despite the challenging consumer environment,” he added. The most challenged large VF brands are Vans and Dickies, which declined 8% and 11%, respectively, in constant currency for the year.
VF’s sales in the wholesale channel were down 4% in constant currency for the year, while DTC sales increased 1%.
VF Fiscal 2024 Financial Outlook
Total VF revenue for the year is expected to be flat to up slightly in constant currency.
In the first quarter, revenue is forecast to decline in the high-single digits, reflecting a challenging U.S. wholesale environment.
Gross margin is expected to be up at least 100 basis points, benefiting from a lower promotional environment across the marketplace.
“The U.S. market in fiscal year 2024 will be about progress and focusing on what we can control in a difficult macroeconomic environment,” Dorer said. “Steadily, methodically, and with discipline.”
Bart Schaneman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.