Recent news that VF (NYSE:VFC) is selling its intimate apparel lines to Berkshire Hathaway's (NYSE:BRK-A) Fruit of the Loom was just one more example of the company's newfound interest in the great outdoors. Today, the company completed its purchase of Eagle Creek, the latest step in the evolution of the company known at its 1919 inception as Vanity Fair Silk Mills.

VF's acquisition of Eagle Creek will give it one more name in its growing stable of outdoor brands, including Vans, the North Face, JanSport, and Eastpak. Eagle Creek provides "adventure travel gear," such as luggage, backpacks, and other accessories; the press announcement touts Eagle Creek as the originator of the convertible backpack on wheels.

VF says Eagle Creek will add $30 million to 2007 sales and sustain high single-digit sales growth over the next couple of years, although the terms of the acquisition weren't disclosed. Eagle Creek is currently distributed through 1,000 outdoor and luggage retailers, including major player REI.

It's no accident that things are falling into place this way for VF. Though its intimate-apparel lines were a major part of its history, undergarments are an increasingly competitive industry with low margins. Existing players such as Limited's (NYSE:LTD) Victoria's Secret and Warnaco (NASDAQ:WRNC) are being joined by upstarts such as Chico's (NYSE:CHS), which is still expanding its Soma concept. (Judging by its comments at a recent analyst presentation, Chico's is learning that peddling intimate apparel has its challenges.)

In VF's announcement that it was bidding adieu to Vanity Fair and its intimate apparel brands, CEO Mackey McDonald said the company was pursuing higher growth and higher margins. Investors certainly can't complain about such goals, since they should translate into increased sales and better profits over the long term. Foolish investors should keep a careful eye on how smoothly the company's ongoing transformation goes in the coming year.

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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. Berkshire Hathaway is an Inside Value pick. The Fool's disclosure policy keeps its intimates to itself.