Crocs Inc. is wasting little time revamping its distribution strategy for its recently acquired Hey Dude brand.
The comfort footwear purveyor announced on Wednesday a new retail partnership to sell the Hey Dude brand in Foot Locker Inc. stores, including Foot Locker, Champs Sports and Kids Foot Locker outposts, as well as online. The partnership launched in 450 stores in North America, and is expected to grow to new locations in other markets.
“We’re thrilled to now have Hey Dude product available at Foot Locker, Inc,” said Chris Santaella, SVP, chief merchandising officer at Foot Locker, Inc in a statement. “As a footwear brand whose values of style, comfort and accessibility in many ways matches that of our customers, Hey Dude seamlessly fits into our growing product assortment for the whole family.”
The announcement comes shortly after Crocs executives announced last week that they would use the same distribution strategy for the Hey Dude brand that it currently has in place for the Crocs brand. That is, a strong focus on DTC and specific wholesale partnerships that elevate the brand.
“With respect to our go-to-market strategy, we’ve successfully penetrated Crocs’ strategic accounts, which currently represent approximately 50% of Hey Dude’s wholesale business,” said Crocs Inc. CEO Andrew Rees in a call with investors last week.
DTC has been a strong focus for Crocs since 2021, when the brand began slimming down on certain wholesale partnerships to focus on direct channels. In April 2021, Crocs said it was ending business relationships with some of its long-time wholesalers to prioritize key partners that could elevate the brand’s position in the marketplace.
Since the company acquired Hey Dude in early 2022, executives have rolled out a similar distribution strategy. Earlier this month, FN reported that Hey Dude was cutting ties with some of its wholesale partners to focus on DTC sales. The goal, like that of similar DTC focused companies like Nike and Adidas, is to focus on “big leadership accounts” that can elevate the brand, Rees said.
“As we strategically grow the HEYDUDE business, working with a trusted partner like Foot Locker, Inc. was the perfect fit given the retailer’s global footprint and vast community of next generation consumers,” said Sean Finucane, Hey Dude’s SVP and GM North America in a statement. “We look forward to growing our footprint in Foot Locker, Inc. stores and giving consumers a product they can be proud of.”
When it comes to international expansion for Hey Dude, Rees said the brand will follow Crocs’ playback there as well. That is, if Crocs is mostly direct-to-consumer in one country, Hey Dude will be direct-to-consumer as well. In rolling this out, the company will take a “test and learn” approach in 2023 in markets across Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America.