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Tiffany Montgomery
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Vans president cautiously optimistic on ‘08

By Tiffany Montgomery
January 25, 2008 5:39 AM

Vans President Steve Murray told me yesterday at ASR that the company's outlook is more cautious than last year, but he still believes 2008 will be a strong year for Vans.


Vans makes differentiated product lines for different distribution channels which helps, he said. The company sells Bloomingdale's and Barney's at the high end and stores like Kohl's and JC Penney in the mid-tier.


The strongest market right now for Vans is the core channel. "Year over year, we had exceptional growth," he said. Vans has not seen a slowdown in the vulcanized styles it is famous for in its own stores and in core doors.


Business in what Vans calls the lifestyle channel - PacSun and other mall retailers - has been tougher.


"Business at the mall will be challenging this year but we have enough going on with the diversity of our portfolio to not be overly concerned about it."


Also doing well are Vans stores, which saw a mid-teens increase in same-store sales in Q3, and international sales, where bookings are up double digits, Steve said.


VF Corp. bought Vans 3 1/2 years ago when Vans had annual revenue of $330 million. Vans is now double the size, Steve said.


"We've had phenomenal growth," he said. "We see that continuing but not at the same rate."


Below, Steve gives his take on the issue of "sameness" in the marketplace. 

VansSteveMurray2


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