Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



The Future of VF Corp Remains Outdoors

When it comes to the outdoor lifestyle retail segment, one company is the undisputed leader of the pack, VF Corp (NYSE: VFC  ) . With popular brand names like The North Face, Timberland, and Vans, the global retailer has a stranglehold on the lucrative segment and only a few direct competitors, chief among them Columbia Sportswear (NASDAQ: COLM  ) .

Although VF has a solid presence in many different product categories, the company's outdoor & action sports segment will remain its largest and most important one. Luckily for investors, the business is growing at robust rates and should continue to do so going forward.

Source: Company Facebook 

The future for VF is outdoors:
Currently, VF Corp has 11 brands under its outdoor & action sports segment. However, the three most prominent names are The North Face, Timberland, and Vans. 

In the company's most recently reported quarter, the outdoor & action sports category grew its revenue 14% and experienced double-digit growth in every region. The standout for the category was the Vans brand, which grew sales at an impressive 20% on a year-over-year basis. Sales for The North Face grew 14% and sales for Timberland grew 12% in the first quarter. 

The strong performance of VF's signature category is especially important considering that outdoor & action sports accounted for $1.6 billion of the company's $2.4 billion of total revenue in the first quarter, or nearly 67%. Also important is that the segment showed well-rounded growth, as domestic and international markets experienced double-digit growth as did wholesale and direct-to-consumer channels.

Growth potential:
The company's impressive first-quarter results have resulted in a guidance raise by VF management. The company's earnings release read:

Revenues for 2014 are now expected to increase at the high end of the previously provided 7 to 8 percent range. Second quarter revenues are expected to increase at a similar level to that of the first quarter, and again be driven primarily by strength from our outdoor & action sports coalition. For the full year, outdoor & action sports coalition revenues are now expected to be up 12 to 13 percent.

With all organic channels of growth doing well for VF's outdoor and action sports category, the time for the company to make an acquisition may be nearing. Small competitor Columbia Sportswear has been growing in a big way recently and could be a prime takeover candidate.

In its most recent earnings report, Columbia reported that its first-quarter revenue increased 22% to a record $424.1 million and net income jumped a staggering 120% to $22.3 million, or $0.63 per diluted share.

Columbia's Chief Executive Officer Tim Boyle explained, "Our outstanding first quarter results reflect robust demand for the Columbia and Sorel brands, especially across U.S. wholesale and direct-to-consumer channels, and the successful launch of our China joint venture. Wholesale demand for our Fall 2014 products has accelerated in many key markets around the world." 

Columbia also announced that it was purchasing yoga company Prana Living in an effort to diversify its product lineup. As with VF, management at Columbia revised its forward-looking guidance upwards, partly on the benefits expected from the newly announced acquisition.

Management at Columbia now expects the company to grow fiscal 2014 sales in a range of 16%-18%.  This compares favorably to VF's expected fiscal 2014 sales growth range of 7%-8%.  This means that not only would Columbia's product lines mesh well with those of VF, the small company would also add significant sales momentum to the larger outdoor lifestyle retailer's portolio.

Source: The North Face Facebook Page 

Bottom line
VF is sporting solid growth on the strength of its outdoor and action sports category. Management expects this sales momentum to continue going forward as its guidance suggests.

However, VF is also very much an acquisition-oriented company and there is perhaps no better fit for the retailer than the rapidly growing Columbia Sportswear right now. The recent success of both companies confirms that the outdoor retail segment is strong and both VF and Columbia should continue to do well going forward. However, together the companies could be even more successful. As always Foolish investors should do their own research before making any investment decisions. 

Leaked: Apple's next smart device (warning, it may shock you)
Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out, and some early viewers are claiming its everyday impact could trump the iPod, iPhone, and the iPad. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early-in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2989757, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/1/2015 4:20:24 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Philip Saglimbeni

Philip is an avid investor and writer. He contributes to The Motley Fool and Seeking Alpha. You can follow Philip on Twitter @philsags.

Today's Market

updated 7 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 16,528.03 -114.98 -0.69%
S&P 500 1,972.18 -16.69 -0.84%
NASD 4,776.51 -51.82 -1.07%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

8/31/2015 3:59 PM
COLM $61.37 Up +0.73 +1.20%
Columbia Sportswea… CAPS Rating: *****
VFC $72.43 Down -0.65 -0.89%
VF Corp CAPS Rating: *****