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Old 07-15-2006, 07:02 PM   #1
Jan in CA
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Crocs article in my paper!
I think you have to register to view it so I'm pasting here for you to read. It turns out there is a Crocs Inc store near me!!! I have to go check them out!


Friday, July 14, 2006
Clogs help Crocs make great strides
Last year, the company sold 6 million pairs, and total revenue reached $108.6 million.

From staff and wire reports


WINNING LOOK: Crocs beach sandals are displayed at a Cambridge, Mass., store. The sandals are selling out around the country.

BLOOMBERG NEWS

Kathleen Ryan thinks Crocs are hideous, but that won't stop her from buying them.

Ryan, 35, of La Habra, wants to purchase the bulky clogs with holes across the top for her 2-year-old daughter, Elizabeth. She recently saw them in Nordstrom at the Brea Mall.

Elizabeth doesn't like to go barefoot at the pool, so she wears her flip flops. But unlike thongs, Crocs are slip resistant.

Crocs are winning consumers over with their versatility and comfort.

Food service and factory workers, hair stylists and hospital personnel buy them for comfort. Boaters and swimmers buy them for function. And some just think they're fun.

Crocs, which got their name because the shoes are water-friendly and tough, now lend their cartoon crocodile logo to more than a dozen styles. There are flip flops, slides, a calf-high boot, a hiking shoe and a Mary Jane that's to hit stores this fall.

They come in 20 colors including chocolate, sea blue, lime and fuchsia and prices range from about $30 to $60.

Crocs Inc., based in Niwot, Colo., reported $24,000 in revenue and sold 1,500 pairs of clogs in 2002, its first year.

Last year, the company sold 6 million pairs of shoes and total revenue, including shoes, accessories and clothing, reached $108.6 million, which company spokesman Michael Fox said came almost entirely from shoes.

In May, Crocs said it expected sales for 2006 to reach $200 million to $205 million.

Carol Nielsen, a buyer for Becker Surfboards for almost two decades, says Crocs are flying off the shelf. Becker has two stores in Orange County.

"Honestly, I've never seen anything like that, and I've been a buyer for a long time," she said.

She got hooked on them after the company sent her a sample sage pair that she wears while gardening. After that, she placed an order for Becker stores.

"They're so hot across the country, they're not able to keep up with demand," she added.

That's why it's now taking about six weeks to fill orders that previously shipped in two weeks, Nielsen said.

To fix the problem, the company is increasing production capabilities, Fox said. Crocs recently added a factory in Romania to the ones that are in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Italy and China.

Another challenge for the company is that it has produced a "very one-dimensional product" and must find ways to re-engineer the brand because that product is easily imitated, said Marshal Cohen, chief analyst with The NPD Group Inc., a market research firm.

"Number one, the hard part, is to sustain that momentum," he said. "Number two is to ward off the competition."

Cohen said similar shoes have popped up at lower prices in Skechers, Wal-Mart and Target stores.

He compared the fad to the UGG sheepskin boots, which were hot for a couple of years but faded away after imitators came along.

Fox said the key to Crocs is the material. They're made of a resin that molds to the foot, is scuff and slip resistant, doesn't absorb odor and can be cleaned with a garden hose.

Jen Mosher of Tuscaloosa, Ala., said she got her first pair of Crocs for Christmas in 2002.

"I stuck them on to wear for slippers and haven't taken them off since," said Mosher, 39, a University of Alabama microbiology graduate student who's often on her feet in a lab.

She now has the original Crocs in nine colors dark blue, royal blue, yellow, orange, red, purple, green, black and the tan ones she wears as dress shoes.

She cleans them by throwing them in the dishwasher.
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