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10/29/2004
08:15 AM
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VF To Use Alien's RFID Technology

Under a three-year deal, the clothing manufacturer will use Alien Technology RFID tags and readers to track shipments to retailers.

Jeans maker VF Corp. this week said it has signed a three-year agreement to purchase radio-frequency identification tags and readers from Alien Technology Corp. to identify products in cases and pallets headed to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other retailers that use RFID technology to improve inventory management and supply-chain visibility.

VF will initially equip seven of its U.S. distribution centers with RFID systems to monitor the tagged cases and pallets. The clothing manufacturer, noted for its Lee, Wrangler, Nautica, The North Face, and Vanity Fair brands, has already begun shipping tagged cases of its products to Wal-Mart's three distribution centers and says it expects to use around 600,000 RFID tags a year at first.

The company will initially use Alien's 64-bit EPC Class 1 tags but will switch to a 96-bit version later next year. VF expects to increase its orders for Alien RFID tags as it attempts to keep up with growing demand for its products.

Last week, VF reported earnings of $155 million, or $1.38 a share, on revenue of $1.79 billion in the quarter ended Sept. 30. In the same period last year, VF earned $125.3 million, or $1.14 a share, on revenue of $1.44 billion. VF said its recent acquisitions of the Vans, Napapijri, and Kipling brands added $183.6 million to sales and 12 cents a share to earnings.

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