Timberland Touts Bionic Canvas

Timberland is weaving a new fabric into its earth-friendly repertoire, integrating Bionic canvas in its spring designs for both men and women. The Stratham, N.H.-based company says it has also added a new nano-coating to certain models.

Both help make the canvas stronger and more waterproof, while still delivering on the brand's eco-conscious promises. The company is using the canvas in footwear, such as its Earthkeepers taller boots, slip-ons and chukka boots, as well as outerwear.

Bionic canvas is made from 50% organic cotton, which is wrapped around a 38% recycled PET and 12% polyester core. (Think recycled soda bottles.) It says it is the first footwear brand to do so, making it 30% stronger than regular canvas while still maintaining a natural cotton feel. The fabric dries 30% faster than 100% cotton canvas, and is twice as resistant to abrasions.

The company says it has also added a new nano process, called ion-mask technology by P2i, which further increases the fabric's ability to repel water.



Separately, the company reported a rip-roaring fourth quarter. Revenues rose 26.7% to $491.1 million, powered by a 17.6% increase in its comparable-store results. While its North American revenues gained a hefty 16.8% to $252 million, powered especially by men's footwear and its SmartWool apparel and accessories, other regions were even stronger. In Europe, sales gained 32.3% to $169.6 million in the quarter, while Asia revenue soared 58.5% to $69.6 million. Net income nearly doubled to $42.1 million, up from $22.3 million in the same period a year ago.

The results are ahead of industry averages: The NPD Group, a Port Washington, N.Y.-based market research company, recently reported that after experiencing a 3.5% decline in 2009, total U.S. fashion footwear sales rose 7.2% in 2010, with sales of men's products gaining 6.9%, women's gaining 8%, and children's up 3.5%. But within those results, work and outdoor footwear -- Timberland's strong suit -- gained 4.2% and 14.4%, respectively.

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