As Skechers’ brick-and-mortar locations get back to business, President Michael Greenberg is feeling bullish.
“Every day we reopen, I’m more excited about the outlook,” he said from his Manhattan Beach, Calif. home today. “Particularly with freestanding and open-air stores, we’re seeing a pent-up demand from consumers who want to go out there and shop.”
Skechers plans to have 350 stores, primarily in North America, operational by the third week of May. It has already reopened locations in Texas, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Colorado and Missouri, among other states. “We had a team in place raring to go,” said Greenberg, noting that about 80% of the company’s stores are outside traditional malls.
Greenberg said he’s also actively engaging with key partners, including DSW, Rack Room, Shoe Carnival and Famous Footwear. “They have good stories. All of us, in certain markets, are seeing positive comps versus last year,” the executive noted. “We’re eager for everyone to open up — and so is the consumer. They’re ready to get out and buy the necessities — and footwear is a necessity.”
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The brand — which has also seen online sales skyrocket more than 375% compared to the same period last year — is in the sweet spot of what consumers want: casual, athletic, comfortable shoes. “If we had to be in any category within this industry, we’re spot on,” Greenberg said.
Skechers is also seeing a surge in demand for occupational footwear, driven by its strong connection with first responders and health and safety workers. “Over the years, we’ve built one of the strongest occupational footwear brands in America. The business was very strong pre-pandemic. Doing what we can for people on the frontlines makes us feel good,” he said.
The executive noted that he’s looking forward to getting back to the office — and the team has been focusing on implementing protocols that will enable both customers and employees to safely return. “Working at home has its advantages and disadvantages. I’m eager to get back to work and be around friends and co-workers — and get back to strategy meetings that aren’t on Zoom,” Greenberg said.
Overall, he is optimistic about the road ahead. “We’re shoe warriors. Commerce will march on…and we’ll get past this. I believe that in six months or a year from now, it’s not going to be the doom and gloom that [some people are forecasting].”
While the industry certainly has some formidable challenges ahead, analysts have been largely upbeat on Skechers.
“We believe [the company] will emerge from the current crisis in a position of strength,” said Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Sam Poser in a research note. “Compelling and accessibly priced product, a burgeoning e-commerce business, and ample liquidity will all help Skechers weather the current crisis better than most peers, in our view. Further, retail recovery in China continues to take shape, which is a positive sign for countries such as the U.S. that are in the earlier stages of the crisis.”