Member Benefit: Credit Monitoring

Meet the woman standing between you and anything you have bought or will buy from The North Face.

By Deborah Williams February 17, 2017

If it weren’t for Lisa Long, you might not have that Nuptse fleece or Terra 50 pack or VE 25 tent in your personal gear collection. That’s because as the senior credit manager for The North Face, Long is one of a few key people standing between those products and the retailer from whom you bought them. And if you are the retailer? Then Long holds the fate of your store’s inventory in her hand. It’s her team’s job to determine and verify the credit- worthiness of any retailer who wishes to make a purchase order on credit from VFO (VF Outdoor, LLC). Brands under the VFO umbrella include The North Face, Vans, Timberland, SmartWool, JanSport, Reef, Eagle Creek and lucy. For products to go from the warehouse to a retailer, Long has to give her stamp of approval.

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Lisa Long, Senior Credit Manager, The North Face

“Our credit decisions are prefaced upon maintaining a healthy balance to realize sales potential, ascertaining the collectability of our partner dealer accounts, while limiting risk exposure, at the brand coalition level,” says Long, whose team uses the SICA database to guide their decisions. 

SICA-US monitors more than 35,000 active retailer accounts and receives multi-billion dollars in accounts receivable data transfer every month from its members. SICA has developed a credit scoring index with those data in order to provide accurate credit assessments to its members.

In 2017, Outdoor Industry Association and SICA announced a new partnership that will allow OIA members to join SICA at a special, discounted rate.

Long has been with VFO for 37 years and reports that she’s been using SICA for much of that time. “It was a one-stop-shop for our Canadian credit reports, and we’ve benefited from a greater depth of trade and bank data, even at times when general trade data was limited or just not available. We jumped on board in 2011, when SICA expanded their industry footprint in the U.S., specifically, NSCA (National Snowsports Credit Association)

 The SICA website packages historical industry trade data, including cyclical bench-marking analysis related to seasonal pay trend and debt leverage, drill-down functionality to display specs behind numbers reported, credit scoring by quarter, press releases, public filings and SICA commentary on discussions with management—all things Long credits with making her job easier.  In addition, organization and contacts are monitored and brought up to date as needed. “We utilize credit data and member references, reciprocating with our historical trade data,” she says. “The benefit of using SICA services is that it allows access to industry specific A/R data, where challenges at the retail level may vary.”  

For more information about the SICA partnership, contact