June 30, 2011, 12:00 AM

Riding strong growth, Timberland Brings an online boost to VF Corp.

With Timberland joining its stable of retailers, VF is primed to get a shot of faster online growth in the U.S. and abroad. In a deal valued at $2 billion, VF if getting a retailer whose web sales rose 27% last year to $25.2 million.

Outdoor and casual apparel isn't new to VF Corp., which did $120 million in web sales last year with brands including The North Face, Wrangler and Lee. But with The Timberland Co. joining its stable of retailers, VF is primed to get a shot of faster online growth in the U.S. and abroad.

VF is acquiring Timberland in a deal valued at $2 billion. For that, VF will get a recognized brand of products ranging from hiking boots and boat shoes to leather jackets and infant wear.

Online growth

But VF will also get a company with web sales that increased 27.3% last year, to $25.2 million from $19.8 million in 2009. Timberland, which expects total sales this year of $1.6 billion, generates about 50% of its revenue overseas, VF says.

VF, which sold $120 million online in 2010 and expects to increase its online business to $400 million in five years, says it will grow the Timberland brand about 10% annually by leveraging its e-commerce base, its own international operation, expense management and better supply chain operations.

"This will be a winning combination, leveraging VF's international and direct-to-consumer platforms to drive growth in the Timberland brands globally," VF CEO Eric Wiseman says.

In March VF acquired the trademarks and related intellectual property of Rock and Republic Enterprises Inc., a specialty apparel retail brand for young people, for approximately $57 million.

mark@verticalwebmedia.com

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