Champion plans to enter new regions, including several key new markets in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, contributing to a new forecast from parent company Hanesbrands that the brand will reach $3.2 billion in annual sales by 2024, above the $3.0 billion target it projected last May.

Building upon a strong performance in the year-ago period, Champion’s sales increased by 10 percent globally in the fourth quarter of 2021, with a 21 percent increase in the U.S. and strong progress in Europe, the Americas and Australia, plus the addition of new partners in China. Compared to the pre-pandemic fourth quarter of 2019, Champion’s sales were up by 25 percent, with gains of 33 percent in the U.S. and 15 percent elsewhere. For the full 2021 financial year, Champion’s sales of around $2 billion were 20 percent higher than in 2019.

Champion recently entered the South African market. It also opened new stores and gained space in the shops of its wholesale partners. It expanded into new categories and added some innovative products. For example, Champion Europe introduced the use of natural dying derived from organic sources for a line that will be distributed more widely.

The group’s management indicated that Champion is “going to get aggressive” in the women’s market through its ”Be Your Own Champion” campaign. It is also aiming for a stronger presence in the kids’ segment.

Hanesbrands’ total revenues grew by 4 percent to $1.75 billion in its fourth quarter ended Jan. 1. They would have risen by 9 percent, excluding adverse currency exchange rates and the non-recurrence for its personal protective equipment program. On a comparable basis, including also the discontinuation of its European innerwear business, Hanesbrands’ turnover was 14 percent higher than in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The group’s net earnings for the quarter were $60.0 million, compared to a loss of $332.2 million in the year-ago period. Excluding a big inventory writedown, restructuring charges and other extraordinary items, the adjusted net income from continuing operations showed a gain of 5.4 percent to $155.7 million.

Sales outside the U.S. rose by 7 percent on a comparable basis, including a Covid-related decline in Japan, but the operating margin improved by 1.4 percentage points to 19.1 percent, outperforming the 16.9 percent margin reached in the U.S.

Globally, increased transportation costs intended to ensure on-time deliveries caused the gross margin to decline by 1.95 percent to 38.4 percent on an adjusted basis. The adjusted net income for the period reached $156 million, up from $148 million a year ago and $142 million two years earlier.

For the full financial year, Hanesbrands booked a net profit of $77.2 million against a loss of $75.7 million in 2020, but the adjusted net income from continuing operations showed a 30 percent increase to $644.7 million. Sales grew by 11 percent to $6.8 billion, and they are now expected to hit a level of $8.0 billion by 2024, up from a previous forecast of $7.4 billion.

The group’s management admitted that higher prices will partly contribute to achieving its new targets, feeling that it has the pricing power to effectively offset the majority of the expected cost increases, thus helping to maintain margins.