Crocs, monsieur?

Contrasting fortunes in the shoe world right now. Timberland, longtime boot-maker to the working man, the urban trendy and the hip-hop artiste, yesterday announced an 8.5% drop in its US revenues, with a second-quarter net loss of $19.2m. It's clearly struggling with the public's growing preference for lightweight shoes. But just look at Crocs, the ubiquitous plastic clogs. Share value has quadrupled over the past 12 months. Second-quarter sales are up by a gobsmacking 162% to $224m, while profits leapt from $15.7m to $48.5m.

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Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

Crocs are the Marmite of the shoe world - people either love 'em or hate 'em. You don't, for example, find websites for Birkenstock haters or YouTube videos of people setting fire to Havainas. Nor do you see whole families clip-clopping down the street in them. Crocs, however, generate all of the above. We'll say nothing about those fashion icons and fellow Croc fans George W Bush and the PGA Tour caddies.

But don't despair, Croc haters: the end of the bad-taste pandemic may be in sight. Known in Sweden as Foppatoffels, the clogs have already been banned by one hospital there, lest they build up static electricity and interfere with electronic equipment. Not a risk with Timberlands.

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