Sales of unapologetically ugly Crocs soar due to Covid

The pandemic has made the unapologetically 'ugly' foam clog a hit with consumers.

Crocs' bittersweet moment has arrived in the midst of a global pandemic. The foam clog, derided by many for being "ugly," expects 2020 to be a record sales year.

On Monday, Crocs raised its fourth-quarter (ended Dec. 31) outlook and full-year outlook for 2021, now forecasting fourth quarterly year-over-year revenue to have increased about 55% to between $407 and $410 million, up from its previous estimate of a 20% to 30% increase.

The company expects sales to have increased over 12% in 2020, to a record $1.38 billion, up from its previous forecast of about 5% to 7% growth. It also anticipates sales growth of 20% to 25% in 2021. Crocs has not yet released the date of its fourth-quarter results.

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Investors cheered the news, lifting Crocs shares up over 12% to $74.91 on the Nasdaq.

"Amidst a global pandemic in 2020, we will deliver the strongest revenue in Crocs' history," Crocs CEO Andrew Rees said in a statement. "Our brand momentum is exceptional, and we anticipate another record year in 2021."

[Speaking at the annual ICR investor conference on Monday, Rees said consumers' overwhelming need for comfort in a turbulent year helped drive strong sales of its iconic shoe.

"We definitely benefited from consumer casualization," said Rees, adding that the clogs are also easy to clean and sanitize, thereby enhancing their pandemic-time appeal. Looking ahead, he said value and comfort will continue to be important for shoppers.

More younger consumers also gravitated to the brand during the pandemic, said Rees.

"They were younger, predominantly female consumers. This was a big driver of growth in North America. As the year progressed, it broadened to new younger male consumers," he said.

A couple of quirky collaborations, too, likely helped sell millennial and TikTok-loving Gen Z'ers on the clogs. In 2020, Crocs teamed up with a number of artists and brands, including Post Malone, Justin Bieber and fast-food chain KFC on special edition collections. Its glow-in-the-dark collaboration with Latin trap artist Bad Bunny quickly sold out after its September launch.

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