apparel and retail

Crocs Pairs With Justin Bieber, DSW Pays Your Rent For A Year

Amid retail doldrums and rapidly changing preferences, shoe marketers are looking for all kinds of ways to spark up sales. Crocs, riding high on the world’s new love of all things comfy, has teamed up with Justin Bieber for a new collection. And DSW, struggling after retail store closures and a growing disinterest in dress shoes, is offering to pay people's rent or mortgage for a full year.

Croc’s effort is aimed at showcasing the singer's clothing brand. The company, based in Broomfield, Colorado, is endlessly chasing ways to make its dorky comfort clogs a little more cool. The partnership with Bieber offers a chance to do that, tapping into the performer's vast social networks.

The company says this Croctober release is its biggest yet. The new collection will be priced at $60, compared to $45 for its basic model. The shoes are bright yellow, the signature hue of Drew House, his clothing line. And they include custom Jibbitz charms, too. Crocs says the charms match Bieber's "good vibes and laid-back style."



It's all part of the company's ongoing "Come as you are" marketing campaign, which also features actress/activist Priyanka Chopra Jonas and actress Zooey Deschanel.

Bieber has more than 148 million followers on Instagram and 112 million on Twitter. And he’s often been spotted in Crocs. "I've been wearing Crocs since the beginning of time," he says in his social media announcement of the collaboration. He introduced the shoes with an Instagram "real or cake challenge."

Although the company isn't scheduled to release its third-quarter results until later this month, it's clear the world's relaxed wardrobe rules are paying off. Last month, it offered a preview of those third-quarter results, telling investors it anticipated revenue growth of about 10%, with sales in the range of $312 million.

"As a brand, we have proven resilient in the face of adversity and are emerging from the COVID-19 crisis with tremendous optimism," says Andrew Rees, president and chief executive officer, in that announcement. "We have experienced exceptional consumer demand and strong sell-throughs."

DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse is also gearing for a fall push, a contest aimed at easing shoppers’ financial uncertainty by helping with rent.

People can enter just by making a purchase at their local DSW store before Halloween. The Columbus, Ohio-based company says it intends to award a grand prize of $25,000 towards rent or mortgage payments. And there will be 10 secondary prizes at $2,000.

Last month, parent company Designer Brands reported that its second-quarter sales had dropped 43% to $489.7 million. And it posted a net loss of $98.2 million, compared to profits of $27.4 million in the comparable period of 2019.

Well aware that there’s no need to wear shoes on Zoom calls, the company has looked for new ways to move outside its comfort zone. Back in April, it announced a partnership with Hy-Vee, the large Midwestern supermarket chain, selling its shoes through the grocer’s website.

The NPD Group, which tracks footwear sales, reports that drastic changes hit the shoe business overnight. “The pandemic simultaneously bred new trends and amplified existing ones. Seasonal fashion took a big hit, while more practical styles, including slippers and running shoes, have performed better. Consumers have cozied up even more to comfort, and likely to brands that are resonating with their needs and values,” it says, in an analysis.

NPD says sales of dress shoes fell 12% in 2019. And between March and May of this year, they fell 70%.

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