Lee, Wrangler owner to spin off jeans unit into public company

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The clothing company that makes Wrangler and Lee jeans is breaking off its denim division to focus on its fast-growing outdoor and active wear business.

VF Corp. said Monday the non-denim division would include its other well-known brands, The North Face and Timberland, Altra, Icebreaker and Williamson-Dickie. Retailers like The Gap and Target have hopped aboard.

VF will shift base to Denver while the still-to-be-named jeans maker will move to the company's traditional base in Greensboro, North Carolina and be led by Scott Baxter, now president of VF's Americas West group.

The Greensboro News & Record reports that about 1,300 people work at the VF plant in Greensboro and that most of those jobs will remain there.

VF embarked on a turnaround strategy several years ago, the fruits of which have been mostly seen in Vans and North Face brands, which grew 35 percent and 8 percent respectively in the first quarter. In the most recent quarter, revenue from activewear surged 25 per cent and outdoor revenue rose 6 per cent. Revenue from denim increased three per cent.

The VF Corp. announced on Monday that it was moving its headquarters from Greensboro to Denver to emphasize its growing outdoor and athletic leisure brands.

"Combined with the relocation of the Lee brand from Kansas City and the establishment of a major new public company with Greensboro headquarters, we expect that total VF and (new company) employment in the area will remain at current levels", Rendle said. The company expects to complete the spinoff in the first half of 2019.

VF shares fell nearly four per cent Monday to $92.63 USA on the New York Stock Exchange.

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