The North Face

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Words: 368

Pages: 2

Category: Business and Industry

Date Submitted: 09/18/2011 01:47 PM

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The North Face (TNF) is one of the world’s largest and best known brands of high-end,

technical, and innovative outdoor exploration gear. Since 2000, when TNF was acquired by

Vanity Fair Corporation (VF), TNF has been an extremely successful entity, achieving a

compound annual growth rate (in a flat industry environment) of over 20% in recent years and

profit increases in excess of sales gains.

Having emerged from the pre-2000 period in good financial health and with a stable operations

and product development base, TNF is looking to expand sales into channels that do not

overlap or interfere with existing commercial channels. In addition, new channels should not

force sales of the brand into lower-end markets or retail locations, as this could potentially

impact TNF’s superior brand image. Providing gear to the US military, or selected military

branches, is one option currently under consideration. By targeting this market, it is believed

that TNF could leverage its superior product design, technical expertise, operational efficiency,

and customer service to drive new product sales. It is further assumed, that these sales would

add to TNF’s bottom line while having little impact in existing distribution channels.

Alternatively, entry into this market may require alternate supply chain processes, dedicated

resources; and the flexibility to accommodate irregular timelines, unpredictable revenue

streams, and unknown logistical and political provisions.

This research paper will specifically address two key questions for The North Face’s executive


1. Does the military apparel market present a viable new distribution channel, well suited to

The North Face’s current operational model?

2. If so, how would The North Face establish itself as a key participant in this market?

During the analysis of these questions, the team will provide an overview of the military supply

chain processes and determine whether or not TNF is well...