Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design

Department

Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design

First Advisor

Sheng Lu

Abstract

The world financial crisis that started in 2007 had a profound impact on the global apparel industry, but at the firm level, the impact of the financial crisis seemed to be unevenly distributed. Several luxury apparel companies, such as Louis Vuitton, achieved stable net sales whereas quite a few mass apparel companies, such as GAP, experienced significant drop of sales and profits. The study intends to systematically compare the financial performance of luxury apparel companies with mass apparel companies from 2008 to 2011 to see whether a general pattern of differentiated performance exists between these two types of companies as a result of their respective business models and the specific impact of the 2008 financial crisis.

MANOVA test was conducted based on six indices developed under the Dupont Strategic Profit Model (including annual growth rate of net sales, annual growth rate of cost of goods sold, gross margin percentage, net profit margin, asset turnover, and return on assets). Eight luxury apparel and eight mass apparel companies were selected for the purpose of the study.

The results showed that first, the overall financial performance between luxury apparel and mass apparel companies was statistically different from 2008 to 2011. Second, luxury apparel and mass apparel companies had different gross margin and asset turnover from 2008 to 2011. Third, there was no evidence showing that luxury apparel and mass apparel companies achieved different growth of net sales, growth of cost of goods sold and return on assets (ROA) from 2008 to 2011. Fourth, luxury apparel companies outperformed mass apparel companies starting in 2010 in terms of net profit margin, indicating more robust post-crisis recovery.

The results of the study confirmed the differentiated performance of selected luxury apparel and mass apparel companies’ business models. The findings also suggested that luxury apparel companies achieved a more robust post-crisis recovery. Additionally, the results suggested that mass apparel companies should not enter the luxury apparel market because ROA of luxury apparel companies did not appear to be better than mass apparel companies.

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