Timberland begins to shine for VF Outdoor

The footwear and apparel brand led the way for its parent company's third-quarter outdoor sales gains.

VF Corp. the parent company of The North Face, Timberland and numerous other outdoor and wintersport brands reported an 11 percent rise in third-quarter sales for its Outdoor and Action Sports segment. Group profit rose 13 percent to $475 million.

Leading the way for the group was Timberland, which saw its sales rise 15 percent from the third quarter a year ago. It was the first significant bump for the brand, since being acquired by VF three years ago, and officials raised their projections, expecting a 13 percent rise in annual sales for Timberland for 2014. It’s all part of an ambitious goal to reach $3.1 billion in annual Timberland sales by 2019.

VF Outdoor President Steve Rendle said Timberland’s footwear and apparel sales are seeing gains across the board, from its classic to performance styles. Timberland has particularly benefited from the rise in popularity of urban-outdoor fashion, he said. Retailers are buying in as third-quarter wholesale orders rose 30 percent in the Americas, compared to more muted direct-to-consumer gains. Officials focused more on the retail market this year, Rendle noted.

Elsewhere within the outdoor segment, The North Face saw third-quarter sales rise 9 percent fueled by a 32 percent jump in direct-to-consumer sales and positive footwear and daypack sale gains. Vans brand sales rose 12 percent for the period.

Going into the holiday season, Rendle told investors to keep an eye out for a more aggressive marketing campaign across print, online, and television. Looking ahead to year’s end, total VF Outdoor sales are expected to increase 13 percent for the full year 2014 versus 2013.

Overall, VF Corp., which also makes jeans and sportswear, saw its third-quarter sales rise 7 percent to $3.49 billion. Third quarter net income came in at $470.5 million, up 8 percent from a year ago.

–David Clucas