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Fast-growing VF Corp. to open 150 stores under various banners


New York -- Fast-growing VF Corp. continues its aggressive expansion. After opening 75 stores in the fourth quarter, the company plans to open a total of 150 stores this year.

VF, whose banners include Timberland, The North Face, Vans, Wrangler, Lee and Nautica, has long been known for selling products through other retailers. But in recent years it has stepped up its direct-to-consumer business via aggressive store expansion, and the channel is steadily accounting for a larger percentage of sales.

In its fourth quarter, VF added a record 75 units, compared to 53 stores in the prior year. Store openings accelerated throughout the year with 23 units added in the first quarter, 41 in the second quarter and 49 in the third quarter.

The additional selling space drove a 25% increase in sales and caused the direct-to-consumer business to account for 32% of fourth quarter revenues of $3.6 billion. That’s up from 29% in the fourth quarter the prior year and on a full year basis the direct-to-consumer business accounted for 26% of revenues of $12.3 billion, versus 22% the prior year.

“Our four largest brands – The North Face, Vans, Timberland, and Wrangler – along with many of our other brands, were strong performers as we grew our business in every region and channel around the world,” said Eric Wiseman, VF chairman, president and CEO.

VF ended the year with a total of 1,401 locations and with another 150 units planned for this year the direct-to-consumers business is expected to account for 28% of the company’s full year revenues. The additional selling space will help, but VF said it is also counting on an unspecified level of same store sales growth and a 30% increase in e-commerce.

“2015 will be another great year for VF,” Wilson said. “Our fundamentals have never been stronger and despite the strength of the U.S. dollar, which will continue to pressure our reported results, we expect meaningful growth in every region around the world.”

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