Skechers is one of the most controversial companies in retail right now.
The brand’s sales have been soaring, and it recently surpassed Adidas to become the second-largest footwear company behind Nike.
But investors are concerned whether the growth is sustainable. Shares crashed as much as 30% this week after the company reported disappointing earnings.
We visited a Skechers store in Manhattan to see the company’s strategy in person.
When I entered the store, I had to double take to see if I was in the right place. For a moment, I thought I was in a DSW. The signature bulky Skechers sneakers were pushed to the back of the store, while the front was dedicated to boots and shoes that resembled Toms, Sperrys, Timberlands, and Uggs.
When I looked more closely, I could see the Skechers logo discretely embroidered on the back of the lookalikes, along with a tag advertising its acclaimed memory foam.
At Skechers, you're paying $65-$75 for a knockoff version of Timberlands or Uggs -- usually less than half the price of the real thing.
The reason for Skechers' quick growth rate was starting to click. Looks a bit like Birkenstock, right? By emulating the trends of other retailers, Skechers never risks going out of style.
Mark Nason by Skechers make work-appropriate shoes for $110. That's cheaper than the $500 Ferragamo shoes they resemble.
I tried a pair on to see what I thought. The boots were actually quite comfortable and you would never know that they are Skechers! But if someone asked me where I purchased them, I wouldn't want to admit where I bought them. For me, Skechers is the kind of brand that you don't want to admit to wearing as an adult, but it's cheap, and styles like these are acceptable.
Skechers may not be completely original in its styles, but it's easy to see why the brand is the second-largest athletic footwear company in America. It capitalises on selling cheap footwear that looks similar to designer styles. While I don't like the idea of wearing Skechers, I wouldn't mind purchasing a pair of its $70 boots that look similar to Steve Madden's $130 boots. But for Skechers to have long-term legacy, it might need to adopt more original styles. Copying can only get you so far.
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