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Exclusive: HanesBrands Restructuring Update

January 07, 2013

By Marcia Derryberry, Editor in Chief

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When HanesBrands restructured and refocused its branded printwear business last spring, it involved changing the name of the Imagewear division to HanesBrands Branded Printwear, and also included the sale of the European Imagewear division, discontinuing private-label-production and exiting the company’s Outer Banks business.

Impressions Editor in Chief Marcia Derryberry recently spoke to John Fryer, general manager for HanesBrands Branded Printwear, to see how business is going since the changes were implemented. Following is what he had to say:    

Impressions: How has the company progressed with the restructuring and refocusing decisions in the past nine months?
Fryer: It is progressing well and according to plan. We’ve been in communication with our business partners and we’re all very pleased with the progress. We’ve really focused on promoting our premier brands Hanes and Champion. With the private-label production, we’ve been unwinding inventory and also have completed the disposition of inventory of the Outer Banks brand.

Impressions: What were the goals of this restructuring plan?
Fryer: We really wanted to create a consistent and sustainable business that focused on our core big brands. It is the best approach — Hanes is the No. 1 apparel brand and Champion is No. 2 brand in the athletic apparel category. We focused our resources there to provide consistency over time for apparel decorators to sell brands that they and their customers trust and love. They know they have our support.
 
Impressions: What has been the impact of these changes HanesBrands has made?
Fryer: Both the Hanes and Champion brands are still selling extremely well. We’ve had the chance to speak with more than 2,000 decorators lately at various events and the product story resonates. We’re able to leverage our large retail platforms to the wholesale decorator market and the response is very positive. The only challenge was the discontinuation of the Outer Banks brand. It did cause a minor disruption to some decorators’ businesses, but it is a small and declining business. The marketplace understands our decision to move on.

Impressions: How have you marketed the new HanesBrands Branded Printwear business?
Fryer: We’ve focued on the Hanes and Champion product platforms that decorators can offer their customers to truly stay competitive. These brands are trusted by their customers, so decorators can deliver them with confidence.

Impressions: How has the marketplace responded to the refocusing of your business?
Fryer: Exiting the private-label business did not affect the wholesaler decorator business because it never carried over to it in the first place. As far as the other changes we’ve made, the overall response has been very good — decorators understand that we are focusing on the two leading brands because they know they resonate with their customers.
 
Impressions: What is the current strategy for focusing on Hanes and Champion branded products in the U.S. market?
Fryer: We’re fortunate to have our retail business that provides strong consumer insight for us. Consumers make personal choices with the retail products and ours have become brands they trust. We leverage this information because it gives us great understanding of what decorators want and need for their customers.

Impressions: What does the company have planned moving forward into 2013?
Fryer: We’ve got some exciting things planned for 2013 in several styles. For one, the Hanes Cool DRI T-shirt is a very popular performancewear style getting positive market response. We’ll be offering expanded distribution and color options to give decorators more opportunities to upsell and add more value for their customers.

Impressions: What does the company have planned moving forward in 2013?
Fryer: We’ve got some exciting things planned for 2013 in several styles. For one, the Hanes Cool DRI T-Shirt is a very popular performancewear style getting positive market response. We’ll be offering expanded distribution and color options to give decorators more opportunities to upsell and add more value for their customers. The performance market is growing tremendously, and we’ve gotten feedback that 85% of decorators are selling more of it and perceive it as an ongoing growth market.

Also, the recycled plastics used for our ComfortBlend EcoSmart line and the Champion EcoFleece line provide decorators with numerous styles with a very strong sustainability story that add perceived value but do not cost them more. With the Hanes ComfortBlend EcoSmart line, we wanted to partially to convert our products to be more sustainable, and this line alone used 10 million bottles that were diverted from landfills and turned into apparel products. For 2013, we’ve got a heather story coming in the EcoSmart line.

The very popular Beefy-T will be introduced in tall sizes, which is exciting for decorators to cater to another sector of their market. Also, Champion’s performancewear lines will be adding new colors.

On the corporate horizon for 2013, we’ve extended our popular Hanes4Education program to the retail business. It is continuing to progress well and gives decorators one more tool in their toolbox as a great differentiator. It helps them leverage the Hanes brand and is a better value proposition for their customers because of the help it is bringing schools nationwide. Finally, we continue to focus on our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program. This is the third year in a row we’ve been named an Energy Star Partner of the Year and we’ve very proud of that. 

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