4 Reasons Why Crocs Will Rock

We're now just an extended holiday weekend away from the most important quarterly report in the history of Crocs (Nasdaq: CROX  ) . Color me naive -- or color me in any of the loud and funky colors that Crocs footwear is available in -- but I think the company will achieve redemption after Tuesday's report.

I've got my reasons. Allow me to count them out with you.

1. The stock is oversold
Crocs proved to be more trick than treat this past Halloween, spooking investors after its third-quarter report featured bloated inventory levels and a sobering near-term outlook.

Story stock dragsters have a cruel way of running into the wall when things don't go according to plan. However, now that the shares have fallen by more than 56% off their October highs, the market is already pricing in the continuation of inventory and accounts receivable hiccups.

Even a mediocre showing come Tuesday can be enough to trigger gains, once relieved investors realize that the sky isn't falling.

2. Crocs always overdelivers
One thing that the trendy footwear specialist has always gotten right is the ability to lap the pros. Ever since going public in 2006, Crocs has blown past Wall Street's profit targets.

Even during the scary third quarter, Crocs actually clocked in comfortably ahead of analyst estimates.

EPS Estimate

Actual

Q1 2006

$0.07

$0.09

Q2 2006

$0.11

$0.20

Q3 2006

$0.21

$0.27

Q4 2006

$0.22

$0.26

Q1 2007

$0.25

$0.31

Q2 2007

$0.44

$0.58

Q3 2007

$0.63

$0.66

Source: Thomson.

History doesn't always repeat. We learned that yesterday when Chipotle ending its target-thumping streak. However, one has to give a company credit for exceeding expectations until it finally pulls up lame. As downtrodden as Crocs' shares may be at the moment, the streak lives on.

3. Analysts aren't as bearish as investors
Perhaps one of the more puzzling divergences after the company's Halloween scare is that investors bailed, while the pros stuck to their forward expectations. Shareholders went barreling for the exits, figuring that this was the end of a one-product company, much like when the popularity of Heelys' (Nasdaq: HLYS  ) wheeled footwear began to wane.

Analysts who do a more thorough job of picking apart models than trigger-finger traders actually inched the company's profit targets marginally higher. Wall Street sees Crocs growing its earnings by 37% to $2.71 a share this year, slightly above the $2.70 a share it was looking for three months ago.

Could it be that analysts' decision to assume that a good chunk of the bloated inventory was related to overseas expansion and new product lines was an attempt to make sure Crocs didn't live and die by its flagship Cayman and Beach models of hole-laden, croslite resin shoes?

Everyone realizes there were problems with the company's third-quarter report, but analysts seem to believe that traders are making mountains of hole hills. And before you peg the analysts following the company as gullible, keep in mind that they have understated the company's actual earnings power for seven consecutive quarters.

4. The valuation is attractive 
There is always the possibility of new landmines going off in Tuesday's report. If new lines, forays into croslite-padded apparel, and overseas expansion flounder, bears will argue that this will be another Heelys. Crocs can't follow in the footsteps of companies like Nike (NYSE: NKE  ) or Under Armour (NYSE: UA  ) -- which have successfully diversified their athletic lines -- if it's anchored to a single trend.

However, have bears assessed the valuation here? Even if growth at Crocs slows 37% as Wall Street expects, it's hard to be bearish on a company trading at just 12 times forward profit estimates.

Crocs has plenty to prove come Tuesday afternoon. Can its higher-priced shoes that bear little resemblance to the originals still piggyback on the brand's success? Can clothing enhanced with a pliable form of croslite be appreciated as fashion or as performance apparel? Will the inventory levels stabilize, or is this really indicative of old shoes that aren't selling the way they used to?

I'm not expecting a blowout report from Crocs. I just think that even a Crocs hitting on a few cylinders will be enough to re-engage investors with a stock that they abandoned long before the analysts -- and the fundamentals -- packed their bags to move on.

Mediocrity rocks when you're being graded as a D student. I just believe that Crocs has what it takes to get a passing grade.


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