Shoe manufacturer Crocs Inc. continues to gobble up manufacturing companies in a worldwide acquisition spree. The Colorado-based clog and boot producer recently purchased EXO Italia S.r.I. based in Padova, Italy, and plans to acquire another Boulder, Colorado based company, Jibbitz, LLC. in December.
Crocs’ acquisition of EXO Italia and Jibbitz makes sense—both companies produce Crocs-related items. EXO Italia produces EVA products made from a glossy polymer used in shoe soles and sports padding. Jibbitz, more interestingly, produces Croc decorations. Sort of a cross between mini-buttons and snap beads, Jibbitz plug into the holes found on the tops of Crocs shoes. Featuring designs from American Flags to skull and crossbones, Jibbitz are colorful kid-friendly additions for the lightweight footwear.
Crocs will pay $10 million for Jibbitz, and walk away with a truly wonderful addition to the Crocs family. Imagine the practicality of this acquisition: Not only will Crocs sell shoes with holes in them, they’ll soon sell the decorative plugs to stop them up. Soon Nike will be jumping on the bandwagon with disclaimered tennis shoes: Sole sold separately.
But the holes in Crocs (and the cute little stoppers) raise an interesting question. Crocs are strictly a summer shoe, designed for letting air, water, sand and dirt flow freely. Fashion companies that don’t provide consumers with options for seasonal transition often find the winter to be an especially frigid time of year. Furthermore, how much of Crocs popularity is just a passing fad?
Crocs started in 1999 in Niwot, Colorado as Western Brands, LLC. They went public as Crocs Inc. in February of this year, and in nine months have already experienced stock highs and lows ranging from $20.32 to $39.25. Crocs recent acquisitions seem to suggest that the shoes have potential to become a classic footwear staple like Birkenstocks. But fashion trends are anything but dependable.
Twenty million pairs of Crocs are expected to be sold this year, raising sales from $108.6 million to $300 million. The company also produces T-shirts, socks, and kayak seats.
What do you think? Do Crocs have what it takes to stand the test of time and passing fashion fads? Or are the recent acquisitions going to leave Crocs hungry?