The World’s Largest Apparel Companies 2020: LVMH On Top While Nike Gains Foothold

The World’s Largest Apparel Companies 2020: LVMH On Top While Nike Gains Foothold

As brick-and-mortar stores remain boarded up amid coronavirus lockdowns, retail spending in the United States took the steepest nosedive in more than 70 years. In March, the Department of Commerce pegged apparel and accessory purchases down 50%. Clothing companies like True Religion, J. Crew and Neiman Marcus all filed for bankruptcy—the first major retail businesses felled, at least in part, by the pandemic.

Despite the gloomy outlook for today’s apparel retailers, the industry titans on the 18th annual Forbes Global 2000 list—which uses market value, sales, profits and assets to determine the world’s largest public companies—seem poised to survive.

Atop the list of apparel’s largest sits LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which includes luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Givenchy. Run by French billionaire Bernard Arnault, LVMH has a $194 billion market value and assets exceeding $108 billion, making it the 73rd largest public company in the world. (In previous years, Forbes counted the conglomerate’s main holding company, Dior, on the apparel list, rather than LVMH itself, which owns non-apparel brands like Dom Pérignon and Sephora. The change reflects FactSet Research’s industry classifications.)

Sportswear giant Nike finished in a distant second among apparel companies, climbing 35 spots to become the 244th largest public company in the world. Fellow footwear maker Adidas also made strides, cracking the top 400 with more than $25 billion in sales.

Canadian-based Lululemon, which came in 1209th overall, maintained last year’s momentum, clocking nearly $4 billion in sales, up from $3.2 billion last year. Thanks to the athleisure brand’s e-commerce surge and strong balance sheet, some analysts predict that the company may actually end up in better shape than it was prior to the pandemic.

Still, for others on this list, the bad news may outweigh the good. Ranked 1490th, Nordstrom, for example, recently announced the permanent closure of 16 stores, striking fear that the department store may go the way of Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys.


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