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Brendan Sullivan Delivers Keynote Address at WWD Retail Forum: How Brands Can Drive Growth In-Store

Tags: Corporate News Direct-to-Consumer

Brendan Sullivan Delivers Keynote Address at WWD Retail Forum: How Brands Can Drive Growth In-Store

November 10, 2015

The retail industry often focuses on the growth of mobile and e-commerce. While it’s certainly true that online shopping is experiencing incredible growth – outpacing brick and mortar growth 5 to 1—there is a general misconception that brick and mortal retail isn’t relevant. 

The facts tell a different story. Of today’s total industry retail sales, nearly 94 percent of sales are from brick and mortar, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.

So why the misperception?

“The industry has not done a great job of creating experiences that drive consumers to the store,” Brendan Sullivan, Vice President, Direct-to-Consumer at VF, told an audience of apparel and footwear industry leaders during a keynote presentation at the October WWD Real Estate Forum in New York. “While brick and mortar is great for delivering the bulk of today’s total retail sales, it’s an even better channel for brand storytelling and connecting with the consumer on a deeper level.”

VF’s Direct-to-Consumer business, which is advancing the company’s efforts to serve consumers directly, includes e-commerce and more than 1,400 brick and mortar stores. In total, Direct-to-Consumer is a $3.4 billion business for VF and is anticipated to grow 14% by 2017. 

“Part of our Direct-to-Consumer growth strategy at VF is to open new stores, and this year we are on track to open more than 125 around the world,” he continued. “But for those stores to be successful, we have to give consumers the chance to experience our brands in a way unlike any other.”

Currently VF has 13 brands with brick and mortar stores presences. During his presentation, Sullivan shared some of the innovative store experiences at VF’s brands.


To launch a new collaboration with Disney, Vans hosted events at select stores where Disney artists drew character sketches for shoppers.

The North Face

The North Face® transported shoppers to the outdoors through in-store virtual reality experiences. In select stores, shoppers experience remote hiking or base jumping in Yosemite National Park or Moab, Utah. 


“The paradigm is shifting as the lines between physical and online retail blur. It’s our opportunity to create a store environment that is more engaging and appealing for consumers,” added Sullivan. Learn more about VF’s Direct-to-Consumer business.