There may be holes in many of Crocs' (CROX 2.75%) footwear, but the same can't be said for the pockets of its investors these days. Shares of the one-time market darling are trending higher again, nearly doubling over the past year and up 130% since bottoming out in March.
Shares of Crocs rose 11.6% last week after boosting its guidance for the fourth quarter. It now expects to report $195 million to $198 million in revenue for the quarter that ended last month, up from its earlier forecast of $180 million to $190 million on the top line. Crocs is also pushing its gross margin target higher. Crocs updated its guidance last week ahead of its presentation at the annual ICR Conference in Orlando, something that companies often do so they can discuss their current financial positions more freely with analysts and investors.
The new projection calls for revenue to rise 4% to 6% during the seasonally sleepy fourth quarter when Crocs has historically derived less than a fifth of its annual revenue. We may not be talking about impressive growth, but after six straight quarters of year-over-year declines on the top line it will be Crocs' first period with an increase in revenue in nearly two years.
A mile in a footwear maker's shoes
A pair of analysts responded by juicing up their price targets following the guidance refresh and well-received ICR Conference presentation. Erinn Murphy at Piper Jaffray is raising her price goal from $9 to $12, and while the new mark is still lower than where the shares are now trading -- and she's sticking to her neutral rating on Crocs -- it's an encouraging sign. She could have just downgraded the stock on valuation.
Jim Duffy at Stifel is more upbeat on the investment. He's sticking with his buy rating as he beefs up his price target on the stock from $14 to $16. Two Wall Street pros raising their targets following a conference presentation is a great sign, and it's the biggest reason for last week's 11.6% ascent.
Crocs may be years removed from when its signature resin footwear was both praised for its comfort and reviled for its unfashionable appearance, but the the brand has always stuck around. It would initially go on to flourish internationally as stateside sales started to wane, but it's generating more revenue now than it did when its stock peaked at more than $75 over a decade ago.
Revenue growth has been stagnant, and it has even been shuttering namesake stores. However, the financial performance at Crocs has been surprising steady. Annual revenue has clocked in between $1 billion and $1.2 billion every year since 2011. Profitability has been an issue. Crocs will likely post a loss for the fourth year in a row once 2017's numbers become official, but analysts see the rejuvenated market darling posting positive net income in 2018.
Crocs has momentum on its side, and it has beaten Wall Street's bottom-line estimates for three consecutive quarters. The analysts at Piper Jaffray and Stifel feel that the drivers are in place for continuing improvement. Crocs stock had a monster run in 2017, but the rally may be just beginning.