VF is truly a global company. In fact, 38 percent of our sales in 2014 were outside of the U.S., composed of 10 brands that are global in scale, the largest of which are The North Face®, Vans® and Timberland® brands. Our international platform enables VF’s brands to tap into the knowledge of teams across the continents as they scale their operations in both mature and emerging markets.
VF’s international expansion was marked by an especially significant milestone in 2014 – the Asia Pacific region surpassed $1 billion in revenue. We’ve come a long way in this region, and it’s because of the hard work of our passionate and dedicated associates. Many companies have expanded into APAC over the years, only to fall short of their expectations. At VF, we’ve had outstanding success, and we see more growth opportunities in our future.
Despite the often difficult economic and political climate in Europe, we’ve done very well there, with 8 percent growth in revenue, year-over-year, on a currency-neutral basis. One of the most important factors has been our rigorous consumer research, which has enabled us to make sound investment decisions grounded in deep insights. This makes us smarter every step of the way, from which markets we should enter next to which brands we should introduce on our owned retail platforms. And it enables us to make well-informed choices about how we adapt our products, communications and retail stores to meet the needs of a specific market’s consumer, while at the same time maintaining the brand’s global DNA.
Another key component of our success is our ability to collaborate across brands and share best practices. In 2013, we established our international headquarters in Stabio, Switzerland, where we have more than 750 associates representing 38 nationalities. We like to think of ourselves as the “United Nations of VF.” Here, we’re bringing everyone together to share experiences and learn from one another. This helps us all perform better and makes our company stronger.
–Karl Heinz Salzburger, Vice President & Group President, International
*On a GAAP basis, 2014 revenue growth was 5 percent, 8 percent and 17 percent for Americas (non-U.S.), Europe and Asia, respectively.
“One of the most important factors has been our rigorous consumer research, which has enabled us to make sound investment decisions grounded in deep insights.”
Karl Heinz Salzburger
Vice President & Group President, International