VF sells Reef to Rockport

VF Corp has agreed to sell the surf-inspired sandal brand Reef to Rockport.

The sale marks VF Corp’s first divestment of a label from its outdoor and activewear stable in 20 years and comes after the acquisition of New Zealand’s Icebreak and the Altra brands earlier this year in what the company describes as a reshaping of its portfolio.

Reef will operate as an independent brand under Rockport and will continue to operate from its Californian headquarters.

Reef, which has a strong surf and sand culture, was founded by Argentinian brothers Santiago and Fernando  Aguerre in 1984. VF Corp paid US$188 million for the business in 2005, but terms of the sale to Rockport have not been revealed.

According to SGB Media, “VF had aspirations to develop Reef into a major lifestyle brand with wide range of sandals and close-toe footwear offerings as well as a sizeable apparel offering”. However the brand has suffered from the downturn in the surfwear category which has been highlighted by the struggles facing Quiksilver and Billabong, among others.

“Today’s announcement is another step toward delivering on the commitments outlined in our multi-year business strategy,” said VF Corp chairman, president and CEO Steve Rendle in a statement announcing the sale of Reef to Rockport.

“Reshaping VF’s brand portfolio to deliver sustainable, long-term growth and superior returns to shareholders remains our top priority.  We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Rockport. The Reef brand is an iconic, beach lifestyle brand, and Rockport is well-positioned to guide its next phase of growth.”

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