China aligns with PVH’s brand messaging

It’s Chinese New Year Day, with 2012 the year of the Dragon (that’s not a prognostication of Lotus Dragon Racing’s fortunes during the IZOD IndyCar Series season that includes the inaugural race on the streets of Qingdao, China).

According to the Chinese Five Element Astrology Calendar (Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth), the Water Dragon is the final year of the Wood Cycle and the transition year to the Fire Cycle. Dragons symbolize character traits such as dominance and ambition. They’re driven, unafraid of challenges, and willing to take risks. They’re passionate in all they do and they do things in grand fashion.

Those traits could apply to PVH Corp., the parent company of IZOD, which has grown exponentially from its 1881 roots to become a global company with revenues of more than $5.5 billion by successfully growing brands through a strategic combination of wholesale, retail and licensing operations.

PVH is trading at more than $76 a share on the New York Stock Exchange, and it reported Jan. 12 that its non-GAAP (Generally Accepted Privacy Principles) earnings per share for 2011 is estimated to be in a range of $5.28 to $5.30.

Its brands, which include Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, are well-represented in Asia – one of the fastest-growing consumer regions in the world – with expansion of shelf space and additional stores well in development. In November, Calvin Klein celebrated the re-opening of its renovated flagship store at the ChinaWorld Shopping Mall in Beijing.

IZOD, in particular, is a classic American sportswear brand, so stores will be billboards and points of activation for the Aug. 17-19 IZOD IndyCar Series event in Qingdao – a Yellow Sea coastal city of 8.7 million people between Beijing and Shanghai.

"China is extremely important for IZOD as we continue our expansion in this emerging market," said Mike Kelly, executive vice president of PVH Corp. "Our IZOD licensee in China, Dishang Group, has commenced opening stores under a plan that is expected to see over 500 IZOD stores opened within the next five years.

“Dishang Group members attended last year's Indy 500 and were immediately hooked to the speed and excitement of the IZOD IndyCar Series. Exposing an iconic American sport to the world's largest population aligns perfectly with our brand messaging and in-store design."

The inaugural event will be contested on the temporary street circuit, with the Chinese Government holding the long-term objective of constructing a permanent racing and entertainment venue. Known for its German and French heritage, Qingdao boasts an almost European atmosphere, with the city often referred to as “China’s Switzerland." The race weekend will coincide with the popular Qingdao International Beer Festival.

“As the world global economy continues to grow and evolve, China, the world’s second-largest economy, has become a top priority with most American businesses and the sponsors that are committed to INDYCAR," INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard said. “Last year, at our sponsorship summit, China was the No. 1 place our sponsors wanted to go outside of the United States."

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