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The North Face Just Had its Best Quarter Ever: Here’s How the Brand’s New Leader Plans to Build on That Success

The North Face was a standout brand for VF Corporation this quarter, raking in more than a third of total revenues for the company that also owns the Vans, Supreme and Timberland brands, among others.

First the first time ever, The North Face surpassed $1 billion in sales, with revenues of more than $1.2 billion in Q3. This marked the best quarter in the brand’s history, with global revenues up 27% above pre-pandemic levels.

The growth comes as the brand gears up to welcome a new global president this summer. Earlier this month, VF Corp announced that Nicole Otto, a 16-year Nike veteran, would become the next global brand president for the North Face, effective in June. Otto, who most recently served as the VP of Nike Direct North America, will succeed Steve Murray, who is set to retire and return to the UK. She will make history as the North Face’s first-ever first female global brand president.

“She brings an industry experience and an understanding of consumer engagement that’s very unique and very applicable to where North Face is today,” said VF’s CEO Steven Rendle in a call with investors on Friday.

Rendle explained how Otto will continue to drive The North Face’s evolution into a brand that is relevant to all consumers throughout the entire year, via growth across the sportswear, logowear and footwear categories. Within footwear, Otto will build upon the success of The North Face’s Vectiv and Futurelight technologies that have continued to resonate with consumers.

“I think the success that you see happening with the North Face today will be things that she’ll build on,” Rendle said, referring to the goal to make the historically cold-weather brand more relevant in spring and summer. He noted that certain items like sportswear, footwear and bags also have an appeal during warmer months as well.

Given The North’s Face impressive growth, VF raised its full year 2022 outlook for the brand and expects a growth of 29% to 30%, or 18% to 19% growth compared to 2020. This is revised from its previous expectation of 16% to 18% growth compared to fiscal year 2020.

In her new role, Otto will focus on leading a shift towards direct-to-consumer and digital channels while maintaining a true omni-channel experience. Overall, the goal is to drive engagement, leverage consumer insights and build loyalty.

The North Face’s Explorer Pass loyalty program is already a major DTC asset to the brand. The program added 1.1 million new members in Q3, for a total of almost 9 million loyalty members, and reached 33% more sign-ups during holiday weeks compared to last year. These loyalty members are responsible for the majority of revenue in DTC channels, Rendle said.

Otto, a DTC veteran, will leverage her experience to galvanize this area at The North Face as well.

“Her skills and background are really well suited and [she is] the right leader coming in at the right time to continue the momentum you see really taking place in a broad-based manner across regions, channels and product categories,” Rendle said.

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