For casual day, Gildan Activewear has you covered -- from top to bottom. It makes T-shirts, tank tops, sweatshirts, and golf shirts for private-label use, as well as socks and underwear. Steadily fighting for market share (alongside its primary rival Fruit of the Loom) in several segments of its business, Gildan sells its products to North American and European wholesale distributors, screen printers, and embroiderers. The company makes its merchandise in Central America, Canada, and Mexico. Brothers Gregory and Glenn Chamandy co-founded Gildan in 1984. While Glenn remains president and CEO, the brothers relinquished their 90% stake in 2004. Gildan has earned a secure foothold in making and peddling socks.
Following several acquisitions that have boosted Gildan's hosiery segment, the company in early 2011 purchased 100% of the common shares of fellow sock maker GoldToeMoretz for about $350 million. The move is expected to more than double the revenues Gildan generates from the sale of socks. The deal, which excluded the assumption of debt, filled Gildan's portfolio with brands such as Gold Toe, GT, Silver Toe, Auro, PowerSox, and All Pro, as well as exclusive US licenses for socks under the Under Armour and New Balance names. As part of the purchase, Gildan plans to leverage GoldToeMoretz's expertise in brand management, merchandising, and technical innovation. It's also looking to extend the reach of its existing sock portfolio through sales channels established by GoldToeMoretz, which sells athletic, casual, and dress socks to mass-market retailers, national chain stores, discount stores, and department stores. The GoldToeMoretz transaction represents the largest conquest Gildan has made in the sock sector. In recent years, the manufacturer acquired sock-maker V.I. Prewett & Son in 2008 for about $125 million, allowing Gildan to significantly increase production of socks and making it a leader in the US hosiery market. Other such deals include Gildan's acquisition of hosiery manufacturer Kentucky Derby Hosiery Co. for about $45 million in 2006.
Gildan's private label sock programs have helped it extend its reach into underwear-making to heat up its competition with Fruit of the Loom. The manufacturer began to sell its own brand of Gildan socks and underwear in the US and Canada in 2007 at mass-market retailers, such as Wal-Mart Stores. As a result, the company's looking to ink more private-label partnerships with mass retailers while also getting its Gildan-branded items in regional retail chains. To this end, the company in 2010 began making men's underwear for Wal-Mart under the Starter brand name while also launching private-label programs for several other retailers for both underwear and activewear.
Besides hosiery, Gildan's primary push through 2012 is to build market share for its screenprinting channel. To that end, in May it acquired Anvil Holdings, a supplier of basic T-shirts and sport shirts for the printwear market, for $88 million. Gildan's share of the 100% cotton T-shirt market has grown dramatically from 44% in 2006 to nearly 65% in 2010. To strengthen its position in the T-shirt market as it looks to extend its reach in Asia and Europe, the company in 2010 acquired Shahriyar Fabric Industries -- a manufacturing facility in Bangladesh -- for about $16 million. The plant boasts the annual capacity to make 2.2 million dozens of T-shirts. Gildan plans to increase capacity there to about 3.5 million dozens. The company's also seeing similar gains in its fleece wholesale business: 33% in 2006 to 62% in 2010.
In an effort to cut manufacturing costs, Gildan has been shuttering plants in the US and Canada in recent years. Production was shifted to lower-cost facilities in Central America and the Caribbean in 2007. To streamline its operations, Gildan in 2009 purchased a distribution center and office building in Charleston, South Carolina, for about $20 million. The move has allowed the garment maker to reduce overhead costs by consolidating existing distribution capacity.
FMR owns about 16% of Gildan. – less