Hanesbrands can't wait until it gets its Hanes on you. The company makes bras, hosiery, men's boxers, socks, and other intimate apparel under brand names, including Bali, Champion, barely there, Just My Size, Hanes, L'eggs, Playtex, and Wonderbra. Its bras are tops in the US; its underwear, legwear, and activewear units are market leaders, as well. Hanesbrands also makes basic outerwear, such as T-shirts, and licensed logo apparel for collegiate bookstores, legwear for Donna Karan, and underwear for Polo Ralph Lauren. The lineup is sold to wholesalers, major retail chains, such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Kohl's, and through Hanesbrands' value outlets and Internet site. The US generates more than 85% of sales.
Despite the uncertain and volatile economy that has impacted consumer purchases, Hanesbrands posted more than a 25% uptick in earnings on a 7% increase in sales in 2011 over the prior year. Marking a second consecutive year of growth, the improvement was driven by higher prices coupled with favorable currency exchange rates, and incremental sales from Gear for Sports, a licensed logo apparel maker for college bookstores and other outlets (acquired in late 2010).
Results are parsed into five operating segments: Innerwear, Outerwear, Hosiery, Direct to Consumer, and International. In general, each segment is organized by product category, geography, and distribution channel. During 2011 sales of innerwear, comprising women's bras and panties, and men's and kids' underwear and socks, rose modestly, fueling 44% of total revenues. Outerwear and International business segments (generating 31% and 13% of sales, respectively) jumped by double digits year-over-year. Hosiery and Direct to Consumer sales, however, slumped slightly, hurt by the trend toward casual dress as well as the company's lower investment in Internet selling and marketing activities.
Mass merchandise customers are particularly vital to the company's performance. It holds contracts with Wal-Mart and Target, as well as discount retailer Family Dollar. Hanesbrands also allies with mid-tier stores, including J. C. Penney, Macy's, and Kohl's, which are adding its lower-priced labels. In 2011 Wal-Mart represented 25% of the company's sales, while Target helped to bring in 16%, and Kohl's another 6%.
Going forward, Hanesbrands is focusing on reducing production costs. It counts on improving operating efficiencies primarily by using a low-cost global supply chain based upon a combination of owned, contracted, and sourced manufacturing. It has successfully started and increased production at a textile plant in China, its first company-owned facility in Asia. Hanesbrands meanwhile shuttered about 10 manufacturing plants and three distribution centers. The closings include the company's last large knit-fabric textile plant in the US.
Handesbrands' long-term vision targets the difficult task of generating more cash to reduce debt, which stands at $1.8 billion as of the end of 2011. Former parent Sara Lee spun off the apparel maker in late 2006. During the years since the spinoff, Hanesbrands has struggled to improve its capital structure by shuttering plants and eliminating up to 5,300 jobs or some 10% of its workforce.