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Dickies demand jumps amid post-pandemic retail push: VF Corp. CEO

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VF Corp. Chairman, CEO, & President Steve Rendle joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the company’s first quarter earnings.

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: It's the company behind brands, Vans, Supreme, and North Face, among others, saw revenue grow more than 100% to $2.2 billion in the quarter. It did raise its full year outlook for fiscal '22, saying it now expects revenue to grow at least 30% to $12 billion. Let's bring in Steve Rendle, VF Corp's CEO. We've also got Yahoo Finance's Brian Sozzi joining in the conversation.

Steve, it's good to talk to you today. Certainly a very strong quarter. It feels like we have heard this from so many retailers that people are finally going back in store, buying again. Where are you seeing the biggest strength across the brands?

STEVE RENDLE: Well, great. First, thank you for inviting me to be part of today's call. Yeah, we're seeing broad-based momentum. And it's really across our portfolio of brands. But it's certainly across regions and channels. Probably the big strength that we talked about today is just the strength here in the US and the strength in our Vans business. We're returning to pre-pandemic levels as our stores become-- start to come back online.

And we are able to connect with our consumers and really drive that experience that's so important through our bricks and mortar channel. Obviously, we think we're seeing a real benefit to our ability to connect, based on our decision to not furlough any of our teams last year, but to keep all of our retail staff employed. They're back in our stores. They're driving a lot of passion and connecting with consumers.

And what's interesting, while traffic is still off historic levels, it is increasing month by month. Our conversions are stronger than historic levels. And we really do attribute that to our people and the commitment that we gave to them last year. And we're seeing that in spades today.

BRIAN SOZZI: Steve, the wholesale business up 100% organically in the quarter. How is your fall and spring 2022 order book shaping up?

STEVE RENDLE: Brian, our order books are strong. And that is in large part of the 200 million increase that we committed to today in raising our full year outlook. And we came into the year with strong visibility, and we were able to continue to add select amounts of increases with some of our key accounts, not just here in the US, but in Europe as well.

So we're very, very happy with the momentum to be back at pre-pandemic levels and to raise our outlook that shows a plus 9% to fiscal '20 levels and to raise earnings to $3.20, which is a 20% increase over fiscal '20 levels. Our model is really designed to deliver this level of growth. And with the 13 brands that we have in our portfolio-- we talked about Vans and North Face and Supreme. But our Dickies business is doing extremely well. Our Smartwool and Altra business, though small, gaining share and driving solid growth, too.

BRIAN SOZZI: And Steve, we've seen a real strong bounce back in the industrial economy and in many other places, and as a result, a strong bounce back in employment levels. How is the workwear side of your business doing?

STEVE RENDLE: Our workwear business is doing really well, Brian. And it did well last year, as many of those retailers were considered essential. And our Dickies business on a two-year compare is up 25%. We saw good growth last year, and we continue to see growth. What's interesting with both our Dickies and Timberland Pro businesses is they are selling to that core work consumer.

But there's a lifestyle component that is trending with these two brands. And we see that with the channel expansions that we see with Dickies's recent launch of a skate collection and an elevated signature collection. Consumers are thinking beyond just that core application of work. But these brands help define who they are. And we really do drive that dignity of work and the pride that these people feel for who they are and the important work that they do.

ZACK GUZMAN: Hey, Steve, Zack here. I mean, when we talk about boosting that fiscal 2022 outlook, it is interesting to see the stock down. You know, adjusted earnings per share pointing to 3.20, previously 3.05. And I wonder how much investors out there might be thinking that some of the updates might be conservative, given kind of the bounce back that you guys have seen in your brands. I mean, what is the confidence of the upped forecasts, that you could surpass it, given the fact, you know, that this is strong, and I think right now, people are looking ahead, whether or not that bounce back is going to hold, considering there are only so many clothes you can buy once you have to get back to normal.

STEVE RENDLE: Well, I tell you, we're very confident in the outlook that we gave today. But I think it's important to note that our first quarter is less than 10% of our total annual revenue. So I think to raise outlook by $200 million and earnings by $0.16 after such a small portion of our year behind us should really speak volumes to the confidence that we have in our business.

And the momentum is building. There's a tremendous amount of demand built up here, pent-up demand here in the US and Europe, in Asia, specifically China. Our brands are extremely well positioned. We're leaders, if not number one, in many cases. The products, the flow of new products, the strength that we've picked up over the last 12 to 18 months and really driving compelling stories to create more powerful experiences.

We talked this year about Vans moving to a 52-week launch model. So every week, there'll be a new product offer. It could be a broad global offer. It could be a select small boutique offer. But we're providing visibility to all of our Vans consumers of what those new energy drops look like, where they can find them. And it's driving tremendous heat and certainly giving us strong confidence in that long-term loyalty.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, well, it's nice to see the bounce back there. Steve Rendle, VF Corp. CEO, it's great to talk to you today. Our thanks to Brian Sozzi as well for joining in on the conversation.