CYBER SALES POP
The Web was at least one beneficiary of early holiday-related sales. According to ComScore Inc., Internet sales on so-called Cyber Monday, Dec. 1, rose 15 percent to $846 million — the second-heaviest online spending day on record. The firm added that for the four-day period from Black Friday, Nov. 28, through Cyber Monday, e-commerce sales rose 13 percent. “Consumers are clearly responding positively to retailers’ aggressive online discounts,” said Gian Fulgoni, ComScore chairman, in a written statement released last Wednesday. “This is an extremely encouraging development for retailers, and we can but hope that their aggressive discounting has still left room for profits.” However, for the 31 days ended Dec. 1, Internet sales of $12.03 billion were down 2 percent year-over-year, ComScore said. Nielson Online also reported favorable Web results last week, saying that Web traffic increased 10 percent yearover- year on Cyber Monday, with the shoe category, for example, gaining 13 percent more unique visitors than last year; beauty was the fastest-growing category, jumping 151 percent in unique visitors. Dec. 15 is expected to be the peak day for online shopping, Nielson said, as consumers are forecast to hold out for better bargains as Christmas draws closer.
Crocs Inc. and Skechers USA Inc. announced last Wednesday an agreement to settle all outstanding litigation. As previously reported, Crocs filed a lawsuit in a Denver district court in July alleging that Skechers infringed on a number of its patents and its trade dress — effectively mimicking its designs and logos. Crocs had sought an injunction against Skechers’ use and sale of such product. Some of the styles in question were Skechers’ Low Tide, Gypsies and Wooly Bully models. Niwot, Colo.-based Crocs also took issue with a Skechers marketing campaign launched in July. Boulder, Colo.-based Crocs’ complaint alleged that Skechers’ advertising was aimed directly at the Boulder market in an attempt to appropriate its local goodwill. According to court documents, Skechers employed a mobile advertising vehicle to drive through the streets of Boulder for 40 hours each week, from July 1 through July 31, promoting the Skechers’ Cali Clogs shoe. At the time, a lawyer for Skechers said his company had a following in Colorado years before Crocs existed. Skechers also denied the infringement allegations and filed counterclaims against Crocs. While last week’s settlement terms were not disclosed, Skechers has agreed to discontinue production and sale of certain molded footwear styles and focus on its core product. “We are pleased that we were able to resolve these matters without either side having to absorb the energy and expense that ongoing litigation requires. The companies expect that all pending matters will be disposed of within the next 30 days,” the two firms said in a joint statement. The news helped bolster shares of Crocs last week, and the stock closed the four trading days ended Dec. 3 up 28 percent at $1.45, the biggest gainer among stocks tracked by Footwear News.
NEW COLLECTIVE CFO
Collective Brands Inc. last week promoted Douglas Boessen to division SVP, CFO and treasurer. He replaces Ullrich Porzig, who retired this fall. In his new post, Boessen will report to Doug Treff, EVP and chief administrative officer for the Topeka, Kan.-based company. Prior to his promotion, Boessen served as VP and corporate controller, a post he held since January 2004. From 2000 to 2004, he worked as VP of financial planning and analysis. Prior to that, he was associate controller. “Doug has held a series of leadership roles with increasing responsibility within our finance organization for nearly a decade and has demonstrated strong financial discipline and acumen,” said Treff in a company statement. “We look forward to his continued leadership and expertise as we continue to grow and expand our company’s presence domestically and in the global marketplace.”