While we may think that there are thousands of brands in the fashion retail market, it turns out that the vast majority of all sales go to only 20 companies worldwide! This is not a joke, we promise. While it’s not quite a monopoly, it’s getting close. Many individual brands that appear independent are secretly owned by holding companies!
Perhaps it didn’t start out that way, but companies often buy their competitors or acquire small brands to integrate them into the existing group. Below are the 20 companies that absolutely dominate the present market, and just a selection of their secret brand holdings. Let’s take a peek!
Inditex: $4 billion
Brands: Zara, Pull and Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho, Uterqüe.
Wait a minute, Zara and Bershka are actually the same? Stradivarius and Pull and Bear, too? We knew they seemed similar, but we never thought it really was all the same scheme! Today, the world makes more sense.
Nike: $3 billion
Brands: Nike, Air Jordan, Air Force 1, Brand Jordan, Hurley International, Converse.
Just do it! Well that’s what Nike has been telling us for years now. But what is Nike doing? It turns out that the company has been growing beyond their primary branding, with ownership of surf gear like Hurley these days. And classic Converse, as well! If you’ve ever fought with yourself over loyalty to your Jack Purcell kicks and the new Nike innovations you’ve had your eye on — Rest assured, you’re not breaking any friendship.
LVMH: $2.33 billion
Brands: Berluti, Charles & Keith, Dior, Emilio Pucci, Fendi, Fenty, Givenchy, House of Bijan, Kenzo, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Bvlgari, Hublot.
While there might be some competition on the runway on an artistic level between Dior and Givenchy, there isn’t the same business issue. Why? LVMH owns them both! A number of other high end designers are part of the same fashion group, and this will probably grow in the future. Very clever!
TJX Companies: $1.97 billion
Brands: Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Sierra.
Everyone loves finding their favorite deals at Marshalls and TJ Maxx, and they did honestly seem like the same place sometimes. Often, they are grouped together in the same strip mall for maximum convenience during discount hunting. We see you what you did, TJX Companies! At almost $2 billion, they can’t be wrong with that strategy.
Hermès: $1.35 billion
Well known for their luxury bags and silk scarves, Hermès has built quite a brand. And unlike other major players on our list, they have stuck to what they do best! Notable fans include Lady Gaga and Kate Moss, and who can forget the Birkin bag episode on Sex and the City? Birkin bag models have amazing resale value, by the way. Some people purchase them as investment items!
H&M: $1.28 billion
Brands: H&M brand, COS, & Other Stories, ARKET, Cheap Monday, Monki, Weekday.
H&M is a reliable anchor at every mall these days, and it has come a long way since its beginnings in Sweden. Whether you need jeans, a bikini, or office wear, this is one place you know to find something trendy at a great price. But who knew that that COS and Cheap Monday were the same company? Surprise, surprise! H&M really keeps finding news ways to lure us into their web. We’re not complaining, though.
Richemont: $1.07 billion
Brands: Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Montblanc, Chloé, Piaget.
Richemont? Never heard of it, sorry. But we have heard of Chloe and Van Cleef & Arpels, and it turns out that this holding company is in charge of both of them. Not to mention a few other brands, all of which have brought them past the billion dollar mark! Nice work, Richemont.
Ross Stores: $1.06 billion
Brands: Ross Stores, Inc.
Ah Ross. So comfortable and familiar. And mega successful! American consumers have voted with their wallets time and time again to make this one of the biggest chains of affordable clothing for men, women, and children alike. You may be surprised to find that they have done better than the next big brand on our list below!
Adidas: $1.06 billion
Brands: Adidas, Reebok, Yeezy, Runtastic.
All day I dream about sports has come a long way! And by that, we mean Adidas, an acronym you surely know. Perhaps you wondered for years if Nike or Adidas was winning the shoe war? The answer is definitively Nike at the moment, but Adidas is still doing smashingly well with its celebrity collaborations and three stripe iconic designs. Bet you didn’t know they merged with Reebok!
Kering: $943 million
Brands: Gucci, Saint Laurent, Boucheron, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen.
Again, Kerring? This is really a mystery name. But their brands certainly are no mystery to anyone in the loop. Gucci and Alexander McQueen are huge in the high fashion world, and they all operate as a happy little family at the end of the day. The more you know!
L Brands: $876 million
Brands: Victoria’s Secret, Pink.
L Brands used to own The Limited and Abercrombie and Fitch. They have bought and sold a number of famous ventures over the years, but today they focus primarily on Victoria’s Secret. Their remaining big chain has been in the news lately as a money loser, since brands like Aerie and Gap Body have expanded their market share so much. Why has this happened? There has been speculation that supermodels sell less these days than realistic models in the intimates world! Only time will tell if that trend is here to stay. Should Victoria’s Secret change their iconic fashion shows?
Pandora: $871 million
Brands: Pandora Jewelry.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but it turns out that gold and silver sell pretty well too! Pandora is a giant success in the jewellery world, and you’ve probably seen one at a mall near you. There has been a rise in competition from engagement ring designers on platforms like Etsy, but Pandora appears to be weathering the storm just fine. Diamonds are forever!
FastRetailing: $783 million
Brands: Uniqlo, J Brand, Theory, Helmut Lang, Comptoir des Cotonniers.
Uniqlo has been a welcome surprise on the contemporary clothing scene, and it turns out that this Asian design venture is owned by the same holding company as a few other names you know and love. J Brand and Theory have been around for a long time, but it looks like something a bit new and a bit different is breathing fresh life into the group. Best of luck, FastRetailing!
Next: $713 million
Brands: Next Retail, Next Directory, Next International.
While Americans may not be familiar with Next, it’s pretty big in the UK and Europe. And for that reason, they hold a major spot on this list of fashion domination. Consumers can find all their work and casual clothing needs online or in physical storefronts. Their international site also ships beyond Europe. Will shops be in America soon?
VF Corporation: $646 million
Brands: Dickies, Eastpak, JanSport, The North Face, Timberland, Vans.
VF Corporation doesn’t really sound like clothing. It kind of seems like something industrial, if you ask us. But this company is responsible for your favorite North Face gear, your Vans skateboarding shoes, and your classic Jansport. Just imagining how many of those items are sold everyday, it’s not hard to see why they are well over the half a billion mark!
Luxottica: $626 million
Brands: Ray-Ban, Persol, Oakley, Sunglass Hut, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Target Optical, Glasses.com, LensCrafters.
Now this is a name absolutely no one has heard of, but they are definitely in a mall near you this very minute. A lot of familiar stores and brands make up this group, including LensCrafters and Ray-Ban! As you may now have guessed, their speciality is eyeglasses. And sunglasses. And designer sunglasses!
Michael Kors: $597 million
Brands: Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo, Versace.
Michael Kors is famous for clothing, bags, and even cosmetics. But just in case trends go south, the parent company now owns a few other money makers. Jimmy Choo and Versace are definitely winners, so this diversification strategy is looking pretty good!
Gap: $537 million
Brands: Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Forth & Towne, Piperlime, Athleta, Intermix, Hill City, Janie & Jack.
A brief perusal of the Gap website might clue you in to the fact that this company owns quite a few other stores at the moment. Gap has gone beyond Banana Republic and Old Navy in recent years, and they remain one of the biggest and most profitable ventures in American fashion. Capitalizing on the athleticwear trend and the intimates market have been a few bold moves lately. What will they do next?
Hanes Brands: $495 million
Brands: Hanes, Champion, Playtex, Bali, L’eggs, Just My Size, Hanes Hosiery, Barely There, Wonderbra, Duofold, Airé, Beefy-T, C9 by Champion, One Hanes Places, Maidenform.
With billions of feet out there, it’s not hard to believe that the biggest sock brand we know has been doing pretty well. But what else does Hanes own these days? It turns out that they own quite a few brands you know! Champion has been successfully re-marketed as a new hipster brand, somehow. Maidenform has been a great bra choice for decades, and continues to be a big seller at department stores all over the country. And its shelf competition Wonderbra and Playtex are apparently not really at war! All is harmonious in the business world of Hanes.
Burberry Group PLC: $446 million
And finally, Burberry. Of course this one made the list. The British fashion house is iconic, and they clearly have no trouble converting their magazine spreads into cold hard cash with boutiques all over the world. From Chicago to London, Burberry is available for the right price. It seems they have not yet purchased their competition, choosing to focus on their core products. But as anyone can see, many designers have merged in today’s market. Will Burberry stray? Serious questions need serious answers! Cheers, fashionistas.