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Brooke Sutherland

VF Sheds Its Wrangler Jeans. But for What?

It makes sense for the apparel company to narrow its focus, but the Lee and Wrangler brands leave a big profit hole.

Looking for a better fit.

Looking for a better fit.

Photographer: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

VF Corp.’s brands are better known than the company itself. And it just shed some big ones.

The $36 billion company behind North Face jackets and Vans shoes on Monday announced it would sharpen its focus on outdoor and active wear by spinning off its jeans division. This unit includes the Lee and Wrangler labels, both of which VF has owned for decades, and generates more than $2.5 billion of annual revenue, or almost 19 percent of total company sales. It’s only the latest divestiture for VF, which in the past two years has sold off labels including 7 for All Mankind, Splendid, Nautica and Majestic licensed sports apparel.