Inside the Industry

Apparel company VF Corporation has appointed Nicole Otto to the role of global brand president of The North Face. Succeeding Steve Murray, who is retiring, Otto will report to VF Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Rendle once the transition is effective in June. Otto spent 16 years with Nike, most recently as the vice president of Nike Direct North America, a position she held from 2018 to May 2021. “[Otto’s] global industry experience and deep understanding of consumer-engagement strategies—through both physical retail and digital commerce—make her ideally suited to take the helm of this iconic brand and accelerate growth through even more-compelling direct connections with consumers worldwide,” said Rendle.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state’s budget proposal on Jan. 10, which included a planned investment of $2.3 billion for ports in the Golden State. “I applaud Gov. Newsom for meeting the moment with bold leadership,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “The governor’s budget allocates $2.3 billion for ports to address bottlenecks in our supply chain, advance our efforts to decarbonize the freight system, and ensure a robust and resilient workforce continues to move goods on behalf of the state and nation.” Known as “The California Blueprint,” the proposal includes port infrastructure and goods movement, which will increase capacity on rail and roadways serving ports; zero-emission equipment and infrastructure; workforce training; enhancing the state’s capacity to issue commercial driver’s licenses; and operational and process improvements.

National Retail Federation Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz recently commented on the current COVID-19 omicron variant’s potential impact on the economy. While the variant could contribute to inflation, Kleinhenz noted that widespread shutdowns are unlikely. “While omicron is highly transmissible, its effects can be relatively mild for those who are fully vaccinated, and broad-based lockdowns are not expected,” Kleinhenz said. “Little is certain about omicron’s impact on consumer demand, but people who stay at home because of the variant are more likely to spend their money on retail goods rather than services like dining out or in-person entertainment. That would put further pressure on inflation since supply chains are already overloaded across the globe.”

HanesBrands announced a $2 million investment in three historically Black colleges and universities. Through a four-year partnership with North Carolina A&T, Pensole Lewis College of Business & Design and Winston-Salem State University, the apparel brand will fund research and provide financial support to students pursuing studies in concentrations including sustainability, fashion design and supply-chain management through scholarships, internships, mentorships and grants. “Our partnerships with these HBCUs are part of HanesBrands’ legacy of investing in our communities,” said Steve Bratspies, CEO of HanesBrands. “The scholarships and internships that are part of this program will ensure that students have opportunities to acquire the education and experience necessary to succeed and will help build a diverse and inclusive workforce.”