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After a series of struggles, most recently an abysmal fourth quarter of 2016, Crocs, Inc. and its iconic foam clog are making a comeback, the Washington Post reports.
The company posted a 28.4 percent year-over-year increase in net profit over the first six months of 2017, and according to the Post. Foot traffic in Crocs stores jumped 12 percent during the back to school season.
Founded in Niwot, CO in 2002, Crocs quickly jumped to prominence (or, some might say, infamy) around the world. Former U.S. president George W. Bush, actor Al Pacino, and former model Brooke Shields were all among the shoe’s early adopters, the Post says.
From 2003 through 2007, the company’s annual revenue grew from $1.17 million to $847.35 million.
But in 2008, amidst the recession, Crocs suffered its first annual revenue decrease since 2002, lost over $185 million and, according to the Post, laid off 2,000 workers. A $67.7-billion annual loss followed in 2009, but the company returned to profitability in 2010 and reported continuous profit growth from 2010-2012.
From 2012 to 2013, though, net income declined 92 percent.
In December 2013, Blackstone Group LP invested $200 million in Crocs. The company installed a new permanent CEO, Gregg Ribatt, the following year.
But the bottom line continued to drop. In 2014, Crocs posted a net loss of $4.9 million. The following year, the company lost over $83 million.
In 2016, profits began moving in a positive direction. Crocs cut its annual loss by 80 percent to $16.5 million.
But, the company lost $44.5 million in the fourth quarter of the year.
Back in March, in conjunction with the release of the earnings results for the fourth quarter of 2016, the company announced plans to close almost 160 stores and appointed then-president Andrew Rees to replace Ribatt as CEO.
Since, Crocs has recovered, reporting net income of $11 million in the first quarter of 2017—a 7.8 percent year-over-year increase—and of just under $22 million in quarter two—a 37.8 percent year-over-year spike.
“Crocs is starting to turn itself around, even in these very difficult times,” said Steven Marotta, an analyst at CL King & Associates, per the Post. “This is a company that has successfully gone back to the basics.”
Crocs discontinued a number of unpopular lines, the Post says, and is redoubling its focus on its flagship product, the foam clog.
That shoe, which sells for $35 a pair, now accounts for half of the company’s sales, according to the Post. “The classic clog has re-emerged as our hero,” said Crocs’ chief marketing officer, Terence Reilly, per the Post. “Certainly in 2017, there’s been a resurgence.”
The signature Crocs, which the company originally marketed as boating shoes, are slip resistant and easy to clean, and as a result, have garnered popularity amongst medical professionals and restaurant workers, the Post says. Targeting the latter group, the company has developed classic Crocs featuring prints of eggs and bacon, sushi, and chili peppers.
The culinary angle is one of a number of new augmentations to the classic shoe. Others include glitter-covered Crocs, and Crocs bearing prints of Batman, Spider-Man and Minnie Mouse.
“New colors and prints are selling well,” Rees said in last month’s earnings call, according to the Post. “We’re striking the right balance of comfort and style, and consumers are responding favorably.”
In December 2016, Crocs signed Drew Berrymore as a spokesperson, and in August, Berrymore agreed to collaborate with the company to create two Crocs designs. The first will launch next February; the second will appear next May.
Wrestler John Cena signed on with Crocs in June.
Both celebrities, along with a few others, are promoting Crocs as part of the Come As You Are campaign, which the company calls a “celebration of the rebellious, the impossible to categorize, the uniquely defined in all of us.”
Crocs may not be cool, but that’s exactly what so many new adopters find cool about them. The new marketing campaign is aimed at the alternative crowd, but the appeal is so great that Crocs are climbing back into the mainstream.
The shoe made three appearances at London Fashion Week, the Post says. Fashion designer Christopher Kane, a long-time proponent, featured an accessorized version of the shoe—replete with mink fur and gems—at his Spring 2018 show.
“Whether or not they’re actually cool — well, that’s up for debate,” said Cameron Peebles, chief marketing officer of inMarket, per the Post. “But our data shows that they’re popular again.”
Featured image via Pxhere