Friday, June 1, 2012

Hanes is closing shop - Can't handle the heat, get outta' the kitchen

Sometimes you don't really want to go into the kitchen and see how the sausage is made. I knew a guy who designed equipment that compressed meat to the right density for making hot dogs and the description took a bit of the mystery out of what a hot dog really is. When I was a child I also got to walk through a meat packing slaughterhouse and see the equipment and process for which cows are processed to hamburger. It's not a pretty picture, but that is how things are done. Now with Hanes, a longstanding leader in t-shirt fashion and printable clothing, announcing that they are trying to sell Outer Banks, a sport shirt clothing line for golfers, and that they have exited the clothing business in Europe, I sort of wonder why? Aren't they supposed to make and sell clothes if they are going to be Hanes? The picture behind the scenes may not be as simple as that. As I child I was brought up on the Winston-Salem area, where Hanes Brands is based. This may be because in some ancient times cotton and t-shirts were manufactured in North Carolina. There were cotton mills in the area I lived and schools named after cotton Barons. These times are but a memory as all things made are made elsewhere, but what is a company like Hanes to do if it can't compete any longer. Admittedly it is their lack of taste and inability to stay up with the styles in the t-shirt fashion industry that has caused their brand to be shelved by consumers, but is that all there is? The real problem may be that they just can't make money the new way, using contractors and there is no where left to expand to, so they are lost as a company and a brand. The Hanes Beefy T is the last symbol of the brand that still exist to me. Links and more new to follow on this post. Here is the text of a letter I received via email: 1000 East Hanes Mill Road Winston-Salem, NC 27105 May 30, 2012 Dear William, Today we announced our ongoing commitment to the US decorated apparel business centered on our strongest consumer brands, Hanes® and Champion®. As part of a larger corporate Imagewear strategy, we also announced the sale of our European wholesale business and the planned divestiture of the Outer Banks® brand. Outer Banks inventory continues to be available through our wholesale partners as we actively seek a buyer for the business. Hanes, trusted for comfort, quality and value, is the #1 basic apparel brand in the US and is found in 9 of 10 American households. Hanes’ fast growing nano-T® and Cool DRI® collections address consumer mega trends, our Tagless® and Beefy-T® products offer tees with better-best value propositions and our ComfortBlend® EcoSmart® products offer sustainability at a great price. Look for our new Hanes TV commercials breaking this week featuring Michael Jordan and reinforcing Hanes’ comfort position. Champion is the #2 activewear brand in the US and has experienced tremendous growth over the last five years. Champion is anchored by authentic heritage products like Reverse Weave® sweats and cotton tees and coupled with performance products like Double Dry®. Additionally, Champion’s new core fleece has more selling stories than ever with a new Champion Eco® fabric, better make and a more consistent color story. Hanesbrands remains committed to the decorated apparel market as a branded printwear supplier. We are committed to helping you grow your business by offering great Hanes and Champion branded products your customers trust and will want to buy and strong marketing propositions to help you sell. We are confident this strategy of investing in our strongest consumer brands will generate increased customer demand and growth within the wholesale market both now and for years to come. Thank you for your continued support. Best regards, John Fryer General Manager – Hanesbrands Branded Printwear