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Patagonia pursues 'good growth'

News, 03 April 2015

AUSTIN, TX: Patagonia, the outdoor apparel group, is pursuing "good growth" - an approach aiming to take greater consideration of employees, communities and the planet instead of putting profit on a pedestal.

Rose Marcario, Patagonia's chief executive, discussed this subject at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

"I think there is good growth and not good growth," she said. (For more, including how this idea shapes the firm's innovation and marketing, read Warc's exclusive report: Why Patagonia prioritises "good growth".)

Patagonia's strategy involves attaching equal importance to staff, communities and the ecological situation - an attitude which is often alien in blue-chip boardrooms where the bottom line dominates proceedings.

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"If you don't recognise that it's a huge problem that you're only considering profit, and profit has primacy over all things, then we're not going to have a world to live in in 50 years," said Marcario.

As a private company, Patagonia is free from investor pressure, and does not regularly release sales data. Fast Company reported that its operations doubled between 2008 and 2013, as profits tripled and revenue hit $600m.

"We manage our growth. We could be much, much bigger than we are financially, but we manage it," Marcario said.

"We're growing within what we feel like is within our distribution: we're not blowing out our distribution to all kinds of big boxes and things like that.

"I don't feel we're growing beyond the natural demand for our products. We really have very limited distribution still, and plan to keep it that way."

As such, the firm places considerable emphasis on ensuring its internal operations are efficient and maximising the returns from current points of sale.

"Most of the growth that we've had, honestly, has really been around making the company run more efficiently and then getting market share from our competitors and our existing distribution.

"So it isn't like it's blowing out of proportion to me. I don't feel like it's out of line with the idea of us being a responsible company."

Data sourced from Warc