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The Outdoor and Active Boom Is Boosting Sales for VF Corp.

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VF Corp. beat expectations in its earnings for Q1. The results, posted Friday, were largely bolstered by the company’s strength in outdoor and active.

Revenue grew 104% to $2.2 billion for VF, the parent company for The North Face, Vans, Supreme and Timberland brands, among others. Revenue for the company’s outdoor segment grew 81%, with The North Face brand revenue rising 93% and Timberland up 70%. VF raised its outlook for its outdoor segment revenue, which it expects to increase between 24% and 26%.

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Overall, the outdoor industry saw growth in 2020 and beyond, partly thanks to a hiking boom brought on by the pandemic. Men’s hiking boots made up 70% of the category’s sales volume for the first half of 2021, with women’s accounting for 26% of the market, said Matt Powell, senior sports industry adviser with The NPD Group Inc., in a U.S. Sports Market Performance Review presentation earlier this week. However, the women’s hiking category grew twice as fast as men’s.

“Whoever’s not appealing to that customer base is missing a huge opportunity,” Powell told FN. “You have to have enough product for her, and you can take calculated risk [in what you carry]. If you’re going to take a risk, it would be in the women’s side of purchasing.”

The North Face has benefited from the general outdoor boom, especially with the rollout of its Vectiv footwear line in January, which earned two Outside Magazine Awards this year.

“The North Face sits in the outdoor camp, which has had a lot of energy last year and that’s carried into this year,” said Steven Rendle, executive chairman, president and CEO of VF, on a call with investors. “And North Face is that No. 1 global brand. And with the work that the team has been doing, the focus around the segmentation between the on-mountain and off-mountain offer, we see very strong growth with our future products.”

The North Face also added 300,000 new members to its loyalty program, the Explore Pass, in Q1, bringing the total member count to 7 million.

Overall, Vans was the standout brand for VF, with 110% sales growth, marking a return to pre-pandemic levels.

VF also sees potential for Supreme, the streetwear brand it acquired for $2.1 billion in December. The company raised its outlook and expects Supreme to hit $600 million in revenue for fiscal year 2022.

“We continue to be happy with the integration process,” said Rendle. “The VF supply chain organization continues to advance engagement with the Supreme teams, with particular leverage opportunities and logistics capabilities, scale and relationships, which couldn’t come at a more opportune time.”