Blog: Leonie BarrieFad or favourite?

Leonie Barrie | 28 August 2007

Determined to prove they are more than just a passing fad, both Crocs and Heelys are attempting to diversify beyond their hallmark footwear lines as they search for new revenue streams.

Crocs, the maker of colourful clogs, has already branched out into more upscale shoes and boots, and today unveiled its new clothing line for the first time. All products feature Croslite, its patented closed cell resin, which appears in either the sole of the shoes or extruded into fibres and woven into the fabric of its garments. A smart move that means the company retains its unique edge even when it steps into new markets.

Croc’s shares closed near an all-time high yesterday after details of its latest venture were announced. Analysts praised its apparel roll-out to men and children first before embracing the more fickle women’s sector. Likewise, its five acquisitions in the last year appear to dispel the notion that it’s more than a one-trick pony.

Heelys, on the other hand, branched out from wheeled footwear at the end of last year when it launched a new apparel line. But after stellar growth, it has recently run into one setback after another. Earlier this month company officials warned sales were slowing and inventories were building after retailers over-ordered and the shoes started to fall out of favour with fickle teens and tweens. A spate of accidents among children wearing the shoes has also given rise to safety concerns over their use.

The company is now releasing new shoe designs, including non-wheeled trainers and a wheeled boot later this year as it tries to kick-start demand.

So although both companies talk about evolving into a global lifestyle brand, it’s only when the popularity of the original shoe formats starts to wane that we’ll be able to see who’s really carved a growth business out of a fashion craze.

Crocs unveils branded apparel line


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