Apparel group VF Corporation (VF), which owns labels such as Vans, The North Face, Timberland, Dickies, and most recently Supreme, announced on Monday that it will relocate its Hong Kong-based brand operations and regional sourcing hub to Shanghai and Singapore respectively over the next 12 to 18 months, as part of its regional transformation plan.
The first move is expected to take place in April this year. About 900 workers in Hong Kong might be affected by the update. According to the SCMP, the exact number of job cuts had not been decided, and some employees would be offered relocation opportunities.
VF's chairman, president and CEO Steve Rendle explained that the announcement is part of the company's plan to "become a more consumer-minded, retail-centric and hyper-digital enterprise".
“We established our presence in Asia 25 years ago and have continually shaped our business around the region’s many evolving opportunities. Now, we’re further transforming our Asia operations so we can better serve this fast-moving, technology-driven market with increased speed and capabilities,” Rendle said.
Hong Kong, which had been VF's regional office for more than two-and-a-half decades, will remain solely as a retail market. As the new location of the centre for its brand operations, the Shanghai office currently owns about 900 back-end and retail associates.
By placing its brands’ centre of operations in Shanghai, VF aims to forge stronger and more relevant relationships with Chinese consumers. While relocating its sourcing hub to Singapore will enable greater integration across VF’s global supply chain network, which also includes key hubs in Europe and the US.
“We’ve made great strides in recent years to advance our brand strategy in Asia with new capabilities in digital and analytics, stronger relationships with the region’s digital titans, and the appointment of new VF leaders in both Tokyo and Shanghai. As we build on this strong foundation, we also see significant opportunities in creating a hyper-digital supply chain with a key hub in Singapore that will enable us to unlock greater speed and agility in how we make, source and move our products around the world,” Rendle said.
In addition to Shanghai and Singapore, a new shared services centre for the region will be established in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It will help the company further expand the footprint of the back-end business functions that support its brands and supply chain operations across the Asia Pacific region. The new centre will house various functions including digital technology, finance, human resources and logistics.
VF announced the acquisition of the streetwear brand Supreme on 28 December, 2020.