Overheard On Wall Street: Analysts Buzz About Brands At FFANY

Hilary Rhoda Via Spiga Holiday Shoes
The Tallulah ankle-strap sandal from Hilary Rhoda x Via Spiga.
Courtesy of Via Spiga.

It has been an epic week at Footwear News and in the shoe industry at large.

With the 29th Annual FN Achievement Awards — which caused quite the media stir, with appearances by some of the industry’s biggest names — FFANY’s December shoe show and the Two Ten Footwear Foundation Gala all happening in close proximity, the shoe industry’s elite have been on the move.

Some of the buzziest chatter on Wall Street is related to FFANY’s December shoe show and which brands are racking up the largest orders.

Read on for the FFANY lowdown.

On Caleres:

“The showroom was busier than it had been for many years at the December FFANY show. The showrooms of Naturalizer, Franco Sarto, Via Spiga and Vince were full of customers. Management commented on the success of their meetings. Caleres believes retail sentiment regarding the overarching poor environment is focused around ‘how can we fix it’ rather than doom and gloom.”
— Sam Poser, Sterne Agee CRT analyst

On Steve Madden Ltd.:

“We come away positive from our meeting with Steve Madden at FFANY. In a tough retail environment, Steve Madden is holding its own and outperforming its competition. Our checks indicate a solid Black Friday at Steve Madden’s owned retail stores, which we view as a leading indicator of the overall business. There are some good items for spring ‘16, especially within sandals, to complement the Troopa 2 and Ecentric Q, which have become year-round staples.”
— Poser

“[Steve Madden management] remains confident in the business heading into spring ’16 (positive fashion momentum, strong early spring reads, [Dolce Vita] potential). But holiday ’15 appears incrementally tougher, and management has taken a more cautious view of the broader spring ‘16 retail environment as have buyers at this week’s shows.”
— Corinna Van der Ghinst, Citi Research analyst

On Crocs Inc.:

“Response to both the spring & fall ’16 product has been positive from retailers. However, many retailers remain unwilling to step up orders until Crocs proves it can deliver the shoes in a timely manner. Crocs has put in place steps to improve the supply chain, including reduction of SKU count and increased minimum-order quantities from the factories. China continues to be a work in progress, and the worst may be behind the company. 2016 will be a transition year.”
— Poser

On Skechers USA Inc.:

“With long-term fundamentals intact and the stock attractively valued at 15x [forward price to earnings], we maintain our buy. However, we think there could continue to be noise around industry inventory challenges and Skechers’ build into Q1, while Q4 remains the smallest (and least beatable) quarter. … Management reiterated that inventories are being cut inline with plan to support wholesale backlogs and [direct-to-consumer]/new international businesses, though they are taking in product earlier this year to service demand. … We still see opportunities for share gains once other excess inventory is cleared out.”
— Van der Ghinst