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Champion’s Big Move: Hanes Sells Iconic Brand to Authentic Brands Group

Champion’s Big Move: Hanes Sells Iconic Brand to Authentic Brands Group

Champion’s Big Move: Hanes Sells Iconic Brand to Authentic Brands Group

Yesterday’s big news in the apparel world? HanesBrands has decided to part ways with Champion, selling the iconic brand to Authentic Brands Group (ABG) for just over $1 billion. Now, if you’re thinking, "Why would Hanes do such a thing?" you’re not alone. Grab your favorite Champion hoodie and let’s dive into the history, the sale, and what this means for the apparel industry.

A Brief History of Champion

Champion, the brand that’s been making us look cool while sweating it out, has a rich history that dates back to 1919. Founded by the Feinbloom brothers, Champion initially made its mark by producing uniforms for college teams. By the 1930s, they were the go-to brand for sportswear, known for their innovative designs like the reverse weave sweatshirt—an invention that helped reduce fabric shrinkage.

Fast forward to the 1980s and 90s, and Champion was everywhere. From NBA jerseys to your high school gym class, Champion was the name of the game. They became a cultural icon, synonymous with quality and authenticity. But like every great story, Champion had its ups and downs. The 2000s saw a dip in their popularity as fashion trends shifted, but the brand made a remarkable comeback in the 2010s, riding the wave of retro fashion and streetwear.

The Hanes Era

HanesBrands acquired Champion in 1989, hoping to bolster their portfolio with an athletic powerhouse. And for a while, it worked like a charm. Champion’s resurgence in recent years, with collaborations and endorsements from celebrities and influencers, brought the brand back into the limelight. But not all that glitters is gold, and despite the brand’s popularity, Champion’s sales have seen a decline. In 2023, their global sales fell by 23% in the fourth quarter alone​ (Home)​​ (PPAI Media)​.

The Big Sale: Why Hanes Sold Champion

So why did Hanes decide to sell Champion now? Several factors come into play. For one, Hanes has been under pressure from activist investors to streamline operations and boost profitability. Selling Champion provides a much-needed financial boost, helping Hanes to pay down some of its hefty $3.1 billion debt​ (PPAI Media)​​ (Apparelist)​.

Moreover, the sale to ABG, a company known for managing iconic brands like Aeropostale and Brooks Brothers, suggests that Champion might find a new lease on life under their stewardship. ABG has a knack for revitalizing brands and strategically positioning them in the market.

Impact on the Apparel Industry

What does this mean for the apparel industry? For one, it signals a shift in how legacy brands are managed and marketed. ABG’s model focuses on brand management rather than direct manufacturing, which could lead to job losses as operations are outsourced. This move might also push other companies to rethink their strategies, possibly leading to more sales and mergers in the future.

Champion’s Key Styles

Let’s not forget what makes Champion, well, Champion. Here are some key styles that have kept us loyal fans through the years:

  1. The Reverse Weave Sweatshirt: This iconic sweatshirt, designed to combat shrinkage, has been a staple since its introduction. It’s durable, comfy, and stylish—a trifecta in the world of sweatshirts.

  2. Champion Hoodies: From classic pullovers to zip-ups, Champion hoodies are the epitome of cozy streetwear. They’re versatile and perfect for layering.

  3. Mesh Shorts: These breathable shorts have been a favorite for athletes and gym-goers alike. They offer comfort and mobility, making them ideal for any sport.

  4. Joggers: Champion’s joggers blend comfort with style. Perfect for a workout or a casual day out, they’ve become a go-to item in many wardrobes.

  5. Varsity Jackets: Bringing a touch of vintage cool, Champion’s varsity jackets are a nod to their athletic heritage.

The Future of Champion

While the sale is set to bring changes, Champion’s core appeal lies in its authenticity and quality. Whether it’s under Hanes or ABG, the brand’s legacy in the sportswear industry is undeniable. We can expect new collaborations, innovative designs, and perhaps a few surprises as Champion embarks on this new chapter.

In conclusion, the sale of Champion by Hanes to ABG marks a significant shift in the apparel landscape. It highlights the challenges and opportunities that legacy brands face in today’s market. As we look forward to what’s next, one thing is clear—Champion’s journey is far from over.

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