What a difference a year makes. Although all Top 50 companies in last year’s rankings were profitable, much of that profitability was achieved through severe cost-cutting measures across their enterprises. The Great Recession forced companies to become more flexible and innovative, to right-size inventories
and stores, but it also led them to batten down the hatches as they hoped to weather the storm. Last year’s report found companies peeking cautiously from the hold to see if the winds had abated, and this year, finally, they have fully opened the hatch and emerged to capture the headwinds and steer toward a sunny day.
It’s a complex story and each company has a different tale to tell, but a quick look at the numbers is quite revealing: Last year’s Apparel Top 50 reported declining revenues at 27 companies — more than half — vs. just six companies this year, while 15 companies reported declining net income last year vs. just seven this year. In short, the Top 50 are generating more topline growth, and keeping more of it. They are generating more sales, experiencing fewer markdowns and running less wasteful enterprises. Read more »