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As so often happens with cult stocks, investors hit the panic button at the first sign of trouble, in this case Crocs' warning early this week that quarterly revenue would lag analysts' forecasts. To be more specific, the Niwot, Colo.-based company said its sales for the quarter ended Sept. 30 were between $273 million and $275 million, below the forecast it gave in July of $280 million and analysts' estimates of $280.5 million. As earnings misses go, this is hardly a tragedy.
Though some investors are ready to throw out the baby with the bathwater, there are many things that are going right for Crocs. First, Crocs, unlike rival Heelys (Nasdaq: HLYS ) , which makes wheeled sneakers that most public buildings won't let people use, is not a one-trick pony. Crocs is also far more profitable than its competitor.
For instance, Crocs reported net income in the second quarter of $55.5 million, up 71.9% from a year earlier, its sixth straight quarterly gain. Revenue jumped 29.6% to $295.6 million. As of June 30, 2011, cash and cash equivalents were $180.0 million. Heelys, on the other hand, reported a net loss of $973,000 during that same time period while sales fell $462,000, to $8.3 million. As of June 30, 2011, its cash position was $61.7 million.
Shares of Crocs, down more than 42% over the past month, are too cheap to ignore. The company is no doubt receiving unsolicited takeover bids. Crocs might make a good acquisition target for VF (NYSE: VFC ) , which recently acquired Timberland, for $2 billion, or Wolverine World Wide (NYSE: WWW ) , the parent of Hush Puppies that recently reported better-than-expected results.
Crocs is trading at a price-to-earnings multiple of 12.98, the lowest it has been in five years, according to Reuters. Investors are skeptical about how well its new fall styles will sell and are concerned with issues with its distributors. Two brokerage firms have slashed their outlook on the stock. Still, the one-year average price target is $25.83, well above the $15.21 level where it trades today.
The company is also branching out beyond its signature foamy footwear. For instance, last month it introduced a line of golf shoes and in July it unveiled a line of back-to-school shoes. Many of company's footwear line bear little resemblance to the Swiss-cheese-like plastic shoes that people associate with the company.
Even people who may think that the exterior is ugly as sin can't help but be impressed by their comfort. I was a skeptic, too, but wound up buying two pairs several years ago and haven't looked back.
Investors can have it both ways with Crocs. Both the shoes and the stock are for sale at bargain prices.