- Summary: VF Corp., the world's largest apparel maker with brands such as Wrangler, North Face and Nautica, is opening 400 stores worldwide in a major expansion of its retail effort. VF peers Jones Apparel and Liz Clairborne are making similar moves, largely in response to the flat market and department store consolidation -- they want to 'control their own destiny,' as one consultant describes it. Amidst fierce competition from the likes of Abercombie & Fitch and American Eagle Outfitters, VF is creating standout 'theme stores' such as nature/adventure for its Napapijri brand, and stores built like yachts for its Nautica brand. Federated Department Stores is fighting back by demanding labels it carries provide exclusive merchandise for its distribution.
- Comment on related stocks/ETFs: Beyond Federated, the move appears to challenge other department store chains such as Saks (SKS) and Nordstrom (JWN), and if it moves further downmarket, JC Penney (JCP), Kohl's (KSS) and Target (TGT). When Wal-mart begins going upstream, you know there's a more general general shakeup in retail going on.
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