Textiles & Apparel


Company Profiles

The following companies are top employers in the textile and apparel industries in North Carolina. Although they all lead the state in the number of jobs they provide, the firms differ in the specific types of textiles and apparel they produce and roles they play in the value chain. Understanding the markets in which these firms operate and how these firms are adjusting their strategies to remain competitive can give insight into how the industry is evolving and what it means to be competitive within today’s industry.


Hanesbrands is a multinational clothing manufacturer that spun off of the Sara Lee Corporation in 2005. The company specializes in undergarments and intimate apparel, which it sells primarily through wholesalers, major retail chains and its e-commerce website.

Headquarters: Winston-Salem, NC
Total Employees (2012): 51,500
NC Employment (2012): 3,400
NC Locations (2014): Winston-Salem, Mt. Airy, Kernersville and Rural Hall
Total Revenue (2012): $4.53 billion
Year Established: 2006 (as Hanesbrands)
Primary NAICS: Other Apparel Knitting Mills (315190)
Sources: (1; 2; 3)

Brands & Market Segments

Hanesbrands operations are managed and reported in four operating segments, each of which is a reportable segment for financial reporting purposes: Innerwear, Outerwear, Direct to Consumer and International (1).

The Innerwear segment focuses on core apparel products, such as intimate apparel, men’s underwear, kids’ underwear and socks, marketed under well-known brands that are trusted by consumers. Hanesbrands is the intimate apparel category leader in the United States with their Hanes, Bali, Playtex, L’eggs, barely there, Just My Size and Wonderbra brands, and is also the leading manufacturer and marketer of men’s underwear and kids’ underwear under the Hanes, Champion and Polo Ralph Lauren brand names and women’s sheer hosiery under the L’eggs, Hanes, Just My Size, Donna Karan and DKNY brands. During 2012, net sales from the Innerwear segment represented approximately 52% of total net sales (1; 2).

Hanesbrands also sells outerwear products such as T-shirts and fleece to both retailers and wholesalers through the Hanes, Champion, Just My Size and Duofold brands. Champion also provides uniforms for athletic programs and includes an apparel program, C9 by Champion, at Target stores. The outerwear category also includes the branded printwear category, which supplies T-shirts, sport shirts and fleece products, including brands such as Hanes, Champion and Hanes Beefy-T, to primarily wholesalers, who then resell to screen printers and embellishers. Outerwear represented approximately 29% of total net sales in 2012 (1; 2).

Hanesbrands’ Direct to Consumer operations include value-based (“outlet”) stores and nternet operations The company sells branded products directly to consumers through outlet stores, as well as websites operating under the Hanes, One Hanes Place, Just My Size and Champion names. During 2012, net sales from the Direct to Consumer segment represented approximately 8% of total net sales (1; 2).

Hanesbrands’ International segment includes products that span across the Innerwear and Outerwear reportable segments and are primarily marketed under the Hanes, Champion, Wonderbra, Playtex, Zorba, Kendall, Sol y Oro, Rinbros, Polo Ralph Lauren, Track N Field and Ritmo brands. During 2012, net sales from International segment accounted for approximately 11% of total net sales (1).
Strategy & Competitiveness

Hanesbrands’ sales were $4.5 billion in 2012, slightly down from sales around $4.6 billion in 2011. The bulk of the company’s sales (89%) occur in the United States, but the company also has major buyers in Australia, Brazil, China, Japan, and Mexico (1).

Hanesbrands holds 19% of the U.S. apparel knitting mills industry market, 10% of the U.S. men’s and boys’ apparel manufacturing industry market and 14% of the U.S. women’s and girls’ apparel manufacturing industry market (7; 8; 9). Hanesbrands acquired Maidenform for $585 million in 2013 (5). This added further range to their portfolio of brands and depth that may help the Company better compete with rivals such as Victoria's Secret and Spanx (1).

Global Footprint

As of December 2013, Hanesbrands owned or leased properties in 25 countries, including 39 manufacturing facilities, 37 distribution centers and office facilities (4). Hanesbrands also operates 268 direct outlet stores in the United States (there is an outlet in 40 of the 50 U.S. States) and Puerto Rico (4). Hanesbrands is currently focusing on reducing production costs. It counts on improving operating efficiencies primarily by using a low-cost global supply chain based upon a combination of owned, contracted, and sourced manufacturing. It has successfully started and increased production at a textile plant in China, its first company-owned facility in Asia (1).

Hanesbrands’ headquarters are located in Winston-Salem, NC with approximately 1,500 workers (5). Research and development and sales/marketing all take place in Winston-Salem (2). The only manufacturing facility remaining in North Carolina is a sock knitting plant in Mt. Airy, NC (6). Hanesbrands has distribution facilities in Rural Hall and Kernersville, NC.

  1. Hoover’s. (2013). “Hanesbrands, Inc.” Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  2. Hanesbrands Inc. (2012). Annual Report, Form 10-K.
  3. Google Finance. (2014). Hanesbrands Inc. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  4. Hanesbrands Inc. (2014). Form 10-K for 2013, FYE December 28.
  5. Arcieri, K. (2013, Oct. 16). “Hanesbrands to cut hundreds of Maidenform jobs as part of acquisition.” Triad Business Journal. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
  6. Craver, R. (2010, March 2). “Downsizing tapers off at Hanesbrands.” Winston-Salem Journal. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
  7. Panteva, N. (2012). Apparel Knitting Mills in the US. IBISWorld Industry Report 31519.
  8. Haider, Z. (2014). Men’s & Boys’ Apparel Manufacturing in the US. IBISWorld Industry Report 31522.
  9. Phillips, J. (2014). Women’s & Girls’ Apparel Manufacturing in the US. IBISWorld Industry Report 31523.
VF Corporation

VF Corporation (VF) is among the world’s top jean makers and owns a myriad of clothing, denim, backpack, outdoor gear, workwear, sportswear, casualwear and footwear brands. Most VF products (more than 80%) are distributed through department stores and mass merchants, though the company does operate its own retail stores and e-commerce websites.

Headquarters: Greensboro, NC
Total Employees (2012): 57,000
NC Employees (2012): 3,100
NC Locations (2014): Greensboro, NC
Total Revenue (2012): $10.9 billion (3; 4)
Year Established: 1899
Primary NAICS: Men's and Boys' Cut and Sew Apparel Manufacturing (315220)
Sources: (1; 2; 3; 4)

Brands & Market Segments

VF’s organizes its company around its groupings of businesses/brands referred to as coalitions. In 2013, there were five main coalitions (ordered by total revenue in 2013): Outdoor & Action Sports, Jeanswear, Imagewear, Sportswear and Contemporary Brands (5). In addition to these five coalitions, VF also has a direct-to-consumer segment, which includes sales and operations of its VF-owned retail stores, outlet stores and e-commerce sales (5). The direct-to-consumer segment accounted for 22% of VF’s total revenues in FY 2013 (5).

The Company’s Outdoor & Action segment constitutes both VF’s biggest revenue generator and the primary focus of its business. VF has aggressively acquired brands in the segment, which now encompasses a wide range of well-known brands including The North Face®, Timberland®, Jansport®, Eastpak®, lucy®, Reef®, Kipling®, Smartwool®, Vans® and Napapuri® (3; 5). These brands market a wide range of products including athletic apparel, shoes, hiking boots, backpacks and camping gear (3; 5).

VF Corporation is also one of the world’s leading producers of jeanswear, primarily through its Wrangler® and Lee®brands. VF touts “consumer-centric” innovation as being central in product design. Selling denim in 76 countries and has capitalized on booming demand in Asia. The company reports that it sells a staggering 1,673,280 jeans per day (3).

VF also sells imagewear, which includes products sold in the consumer market, like baseball jerseys and apparel through its Majestic® brand, and workwear for companies and municipalities sold through its Red Kap® and Bulwark® brands (3; 5).

VF’s Sportswear Coalition includes the Nautica® and Kipling® (Kipling® is included in the Outdoor & Action segment for sales outside of the North America) brands (5).

The Contemporary Brands Coalition is focused on premium upscale lifestyle brands, and includes the following three brands: 7 For All Mankind®, Splendid® and Ella Moss®. The Splendid® and Ella Moss® brands are sold in upscale department stores and specialty retail stores and through VF-operated stores (5).

Strategy & Competitiveness

VF Corporation continues to fuel its growth through strong brand equity. Strong demand for outdoor and action sports brands, the largest segment in terms of revenue, has been a key driver of growth for the Company. Revenue grew 29% between 2011 and 2012 and 9% between 2012 and 2013 in this coalition (5). VF has driven growth though expansion and brand acquisitions. For example, the company acquired the Timberland brand in 2011 and opened 141 new stores during 2012 focusing on Vans, The North Face, Timberland, and Splendid, all of which have high growth potentials (2; 3).

Global Footprint

VF’s global headquarters are located in Greensboro, NC as well as the headquarters of the Jeanswear Coalition. VF operates 28 manufacturing facilities and utilizes approximately 1,800 contractor manufacturing facilities in 60 countries (5). VF operates manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe and the Middle East (5). The United States accounts for the majority of VF’s revenue, with more than 60% of its sales being domestic. The remainder comes primarily from Europe, Asia, Canada, Mexico, and Latin America (2; 3; 5).

  1. VF Corporation. (2014). Global Presence. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  2. Hoover’s. (2013). “VF Corporation.” Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  3. VF Corporation. (2012). 2012 Annual Review & Performance Update. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  4. Google Finance. (2014). VF Corporation. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  5. V.F. Corporation. (2014, Feb. 26). Form 10-K 2013 (FYE December 28).
Polymer Group Inc.

Polymer Group, Inc. (PGI) is a leading developer of nonwoven textiles and other engineered materials. The materials are used by consumer product manufacturers, like makers of baby wipes, diapers and other hygiene products, and by industrial manufacturers, like filtration, insulation, and acoustics products. In January 2011, Scorpio Acquisition Corporation, an affiliate of Blackstone Capital Partners, acquired PGI (5).

Headquarters: Charlotte, NC (PGI); New York, NY (Scorpio)
Total Employees (2012): 2,800
NC Employees (estimated 2012): 2,400
NC Locations (2013): Charlotte, Benson and Mooresville
Total Revenue (2012): $1.16 billion
Year Established: 1994
Primary NAICS: Nonwoven Fabrics (313230)
Sources: (1; 2; 3; 7)

Brands & Market Segments

The company's business is divided into four groups: Hygiene, Healthcare, Wipes and Industrial, all of which fall within the nonwoven segment. The nonwovens segments develop and sell products that are critical substrates and components used in various consumer and industrial products. Although PGI has few recognizable brands of its own, they sell to many recognizable brands including global and regional manufacturers such as Procter & Gamble (diapers, feminine sanitary protection, household wipes), Kimberly-Clark (diapers, surgical drapes, face masks) and Cardinal Health (surgical drapes, medical accessories) (2).

For hygiene applications, PGI produces materials that are critical components in providing absorbency, barrier properties, strength, fit, and softness in baby diapers, feminine hygiene products, adult incontinence products, and training pants. PGI’s wide range of offerings includes top sheet, transfer layer, backsheet fabric, leg cuff fabric, sanitary protective facings, and absorbent pads for incontinence guard, panty shield, and absorbent core applications. PGI will often partner with industry-leading manufacturers to jointly develop innovative products to meet changing consumer demands (2).

PGI’s healthcare products are high-performance materials that are used in disposable surgical packs, surgical gowns, facemasks, shoe covers and wound care sponges and dressings. Their nonwovens feature characteristics and properties that address barrier performance, breathability, strength and softness. PGI’s customers’ end products are predominantly manufactured in lower labor cost countries, such as China, for export to Western markets (2).

PGI produces nonwoven products for consumer wipes applications, which include personal care and facial wipes, baby wipes and household cleaning wipes. PGI also directly markets a line of packaged wipes under its own Chix brand to industrial, foodservice, and janitorial customers.  The nonwovens that PGI produces for consumer use provide key features, such as abrasiveness and liquid dispensability (2).

PGI’s nonwovens serve a diverse collection of industrial end product applications, which include filtration, cable wrap, house wrap, furniture and bedding, landscape and agricultural applications (2).

Strategy & Competitiveness

In November 2013, PGI acquired UK-based Fiberweb plc, making PGI the world’s largest manufacturer of nonwovens (6). Fiberweb was a global developer and manufacturer of specialty nonwoven products and materials for a variety of industrial end markets (6).

Global Footprint

PGI is diversified geographically, operating in 13 countries (4). PGI is located near many of its key multinational and regional customers, with manufacturing and converting facilities in the North America, South America, Europe and Asia.

PGI is looking to expand operation capacity. The company announced that its long-term growth plans entail investing in new manufacturing operations in South America and China and to consolidate its position in those markets. Other investment plans include a third spunmelt line at its plant in Cali, Colombia. This will add new capacity in delivering materials locally to customers that make baby diapers, adult incontinence products, medical gowns and tapes (1).

In January 2014, PGI announced a deal to buy a controlling interest in the Brazilian-based nonwovens company, Companhia Providencia. This will increase PGI’s presence in North Carolina as Providencia has a large nonwovens plant in the Statesville, NC area that was originally set-up in 2009 (4).

PGI has three locations in North Carolina. PGI’s headquarters are located in Charlotte, NC where R&D, sales/marketing and administration activities take place (2 p.18; 3). Benson and
Mooresville, NC are primarily engaged in manufacturing and warehousing as well as some R&D (2 p.18; 3). Other U.S. locations are in Clackamas, OR and Waynesboro, VA (3).

  1. Hoover’s. (2013). “Polymer Group International.” [Company overview, family tree]. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  2. Polymer Group International. (2013, March 22). Form 10-K for FYE December 29, 2012.
  3. PGI. (2014). Global Reach. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
  4. Elkins, K. (2014, January 27). Polymer Group to buy much of Providencia of Brazil. Charlotte Business Journal. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  5. PGI. (2014). Corporate Profile. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  6. PGI. (2013, Nov. 13). Polymer Group Completes Acquisition of Fiberweb. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  7. Charlotte Business Journal. (2010, October 5). “Blackstone Capital to Buy Polymer Group.” Retrieved March 18, 2014.
Guilford Textiles

Guilford Textiles produces a variety of fabrics used in car and heavy-duty truck interiors. The company also produces a range of specialty threads and fabrics, including loop closure fabrics (used in medical braces), window coverings, technical stretch pieces for athletic wear, shoe linings and casket liners. The automotive seating and electrical power management systems manufacturer Lear Corporation acquired Guilford Mills in May 2012 to boost its seat-trim business in emerging markets and its fabric production in Asia.

Headquarters: Wilmington, NC (Guilford Textiles); Southfield, MI (Lear)
Total Employees (2012): 113,400 (Lear)
NC Employees (2012): 2,100
NC Locations (2014): Wilmington and Kenansville
Total Revenue (2012): $199.5 million (Guilford Textiles)
Year Established: 1946
Primary NAICS: Knit Fabric Mills (313240)
Sources: (1; 2; 3; 4)

Brands & Market Segments

Lear organizes its manufacturing operations into two segments: seating and electrical power management systems. From the perspective of the textile and apparel industry, only Lear’s seating business, in which Guilford figures heavily, is relevant. Guilford Textiles specifically manufactures seat covers for automobile seats, including the fabrication, precision cutting, assembly, sewing and lamination of seat fabric. Because Guilford Textiles does not market directly to consumers, it has not developed any specific brands. It does provide seating to many leading brands in the automobile industry, including Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Corvette, Ferrari, Jaguar Land Rover, Lamborghini, Lexus LFA, Lincoln, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche (2).

Strategy & Competitiveness

Guilford Textiles primarily markets its products to the OEMs (and their suppliers) that supply major automobile manufacturers. These OEMs buy Guilford’s fabrics for use in the creation of seat covers, headliners and upholstery for a range of automotive vehicles. As a result, the manufacturer is dependent on changes in the automotive industry (1).

Lear has been pursuing a selective vertical integration strategy to enhance growth, improve quality, increase profitability and defend its current market position in just-in-time seat assembly. Lear is working to develop standardized seat structures and mechanisms that can be adapted to multiple segments to minimize investment costs. Lear’s hope is that in incorporating these key components into fully assembled seat systems, the company will be able to produce at lower total cost without compromising quality (2).

Global Footprint

Lear and Guilford Textiles have been working to expand internationally to better serve foreign customers. Guilford Textiles' presence abroad includes offices in China and Japan, which strive to win contracts with large Asian automakers, like Honda and Toyota. The company has expanded its European operations with Guilford France, a division that grew out of the company's 2006 acquisition of France's Salome-Rokona. The Lear Corporation operates facilities in 36 countries (2). Lear recently opened Asian headquarters in Shanghai to support 21,000 employees in the region with 11,000 in China. Over the past three years, Lear's sales in China have grown at an average annual rate of 24% (7).

Guildford’s corporate headquarters are located in Wilmington, NC and the company also has a manufacturing facility in Kenansville, NC (3). Guilford’s other U.S. manufacturing facility is in Pine Grove, PA and there are also two international locations located in the UK (England) and France (3). At the time Guilford Mills was acquired by Lear, the Company employed approximately 1,600 people and had offices in the United States, Mexico, Europe and Asia including four manufacturing facilities in the United States and Europe (6).  In 2010 prior to the acquisition, Guilford Mills closed a facility in Greensboro, NC resulting in layoffs of 150 employees (5).

  1. Hoover’s. (2013). “Guilford Mills.” Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  2. Lear Corporation. (2012). 2012 Annual Report.
  3. Guilford Textiles. (2014). Locations. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
  4. OneSource. (2014). Guilford Textiles. Retrieved March 17, 2014.
  5. Guilford Performance Textiles. (2010, April 8). “Greensboro, NC Announcement.” Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  6. Guilford Performance Textiles. (2012, April 11). “Lear Signs Agreement to Acquire Guilford Mills, A Global Leader in Automotive and Specialty Fabrics, from Cerberus.” Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  7. Lear. (2014, March 12). “Lear Opens New Asia Headquarters and Regional Product and Technology Center in Shanghai.” Retrieved March 18, 2014.
International Textile Group (ITG)

ITG is a diversified fabric maker, primarily producing denim, worsted wool and automotive fabrics. In 2004, it acquired the assets of the bankrupt Burlington Industries and emerged as the world’s top denim producer (1).

Headquarters: Greensboro, NC
Total Employees (2012): 7,800
NC Employees (2012): 1,350
NC Locations: (2014): Greensboro, Cordova and Burlington
Total Revenue (2012): $619.1 million
Year Established: 2004 (as ITG)
Primary NAICS: Broadwoven Fabric Mills (313210)
Sources: (2; 3; 4; 5; 6)

Brands & Market Segments

ITG produces fabrics for use in apparel, including denim, cotton, synthetic and worsted fabrics. The company’s Cone Denim, Burlington WorldWide and Raeford Uniform brands are used to market these fabrics. Bottom-weight woven fabrics accounted for more than 90% of ITG’s global sales in the 2012 fiscal year (1).

Cone Denim markets its denim fabrics to vintage denim apparel markets. The Company's product developers and designers work directly with buyers to differentiate denim products by leveraging its global network of plants and commercial ventures (1).

Synthetic and worsted fabrics are marketed under ITG’s Burlington WorldWide and Raeford Uniform brands. Synthetic fabrics include 100% polyester, nylon and polyester blended fabrics with wool, rayon and Lycra. These products are targeted for the production of men's and women's apparel, performance activewear and uniform career apparel. Worsted fabrics include 100% wool and wool blended fabrics primarily targeted at branded men's apparel customers and the uniform career apparel. Worsted fabrics marketed under the Burlington WorldWide brand name are also produced for the military dress uniform industry (5).

ITG also produces industrial products including engineered materials relevant to a range of industries. Through its automotive safety business, the Company produces automotive airbag fabrics, which are components of airbag modules. The Company and other component manufacturers that sell their products to airbag module integrators are generally referred to as Tier 2 suppliers to the automotive industry (5).
Strategy & Competitiveness

The financial crisis and associated drop in consumer spending in 2008 signaled the start of trying times for the textile maker. Sales continued to fall into 2010, falling almost 40% since 2007 (5). As a result of the financial crisis and automotive downturn, ITG reduced production of automotive airbag cushions and air bag curtains (1).

Nonetheless, ITG has aggressively maintained its production capacity in the bottom-weight woven fabrics and denim marketplace. Its strategy, despite its financial setbacks, is to maintain a competitive edge as the largest and most diversified maker of denim and worsted wool fabrics, along with specialized automotive and industrial fabrics to a lesser extent (1).

Global Footprint

ITG’s global headquarters are located in Greensboro, NC. ITG’s other locations in North Carolina include the White Oak denim plant in Greensboro, NC, a woven fabric finishing facility in Burlington, NC and another weaving manufacturing facility for worsted wool and synthetic fabrics in Cordova, NC (4). ITG closed its Reidsville weaving plant, affecting 60 jobs and the White Oak denim plant in Greensboro downsized operations as well (280 jobs were cut)(5). Outside of North Carolina, ITG has a finishing facility in South Carolina (4).

Beyond the United States, ITG currently has manufacturing facilities in Mexico and China, but also had operations in Nicaragua and Vietnam until 2012/2013. Close to 48% of ITG’s sales take place in the U.S. and 28% occur in Mexico. The remaining 24% is spread widely across several international markets (5).  ITG has made inroads into China, where it holds a majority stake in a joint venture denim factory. This venture allows the company to capture an increasing share of the growing Asian market. ITG also constructed a China-based fabric dyeing and finishing plant, offering both synthetic apparel and interior finishing fabrics (1).

  1. International Textile Group. (2012). Form 10-K.
  2. International Textile Group. (2012). Annual Report.  Retrieved January 3, 2014.
  3. Google Finance. (2014). International Textile Group. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  4. International Textile Group. (2014). Global Operations. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  5. Hoover’s. (2013). “International Textile Group.” Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  6. ITG Human Resources. (2014). Personal communication, February 2014.