After spending much of the past year in the doldrums, Skechers (NYSE: SKX ) has impressed enough top-performing members of our 170,000-strong Motley Fool CAPS community recently to hover around four stars. A total of 414 members have given their opinion on the trendy shoe purveyor, with many of them offering analysis and commentary explaining the recent optimism.
Skechers' recent sales growth has caught the attention of many CAPS members who see good potential to profit following a big fall in the share price. Hot-selling toning shoes and the benefits they purportedly bring have faced skepticism from the likes of Nike (NYSE: NKE ) and the American Council on Exercise studies, but CAPS members who are bullish on the stock see it as more than a fad and expect the company to come out on top of the debate.
Skechers' recent success isn't isolated to its own footwear. Other shoemakers such as Deckers Outdoor (Nasdaq: DECK ) and Crocs (Nasdaq: CROX ) have seen an uptick in demand for their products around the globe as well. Deckers and Crocs posted big second-quarter earnings growth, while Skechers set its own sales and earnings records in the second quarter.
And while other U.S.-based apparel companies such as Coach (NYSE: COH ) are successfully capitalizing on growing international recognition of their brands, many investors see the same potential for Skechers to grow beyond U.S. borders. Sales in its international wholesale segment shot up 27% in the second quarter, and it aims to grow its international business to about 25%-30% of total sales this year.
Skechers is also taking a more direct approach aimed at maintaining the momentum of its toning shoe sales. Similar to the ambitious plans of venerated shoe kings Nike and Under Armour (NYSE: UA ) to rapidly expand their branded store count, Skechers plans to open 37% more stores this year and target its Shape-ups toward athletes. It believes its own well-trained employees can spread the Shape-ups message better than a department store like J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP ) that sells other brands, and hopefully prevent them from becoming a passing trend.
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