Ugg Attempting Comeback But Not With Wintern Boots

When most people think of Ugg, a sheepskin boot comes to mind. The brown, stubby kind of boot that might look on the ugly side but its coziness makes it irresistible when temperatures start to fall.

Following several seasons where sales have disappointed, Ugg is attempting to reinvigorate itself by jumping into the warmer months of the year.

Last winter was difficult for Ugg, posting a drop of 5.3% in its sales for the quarter. During February, Ugg’s parent company made an announcement of its plan to shutter stores and make job cuts.

Executives at Ugg blamed its struggles on a winter that was warmer than normal.

Performance for the sandals and sneakers categories at Ugg were up by a combined 20% for the recently ended quarter compared to same quarter the previous year, said company executives this week during a conference call.

David Powers, CEO at Deckers Outdoor Corp, the parent company of Ugg, said Ugg’s spring and summer collection fared well thus far. Net sales for Ugg were up 24.9% for the just ended quarter.

Powers said the performance has given the company confidence that its focus on developing compelling products for spring and summer is resonating with the consumer.

He cited two styles of sneakers as being quite encouragingly. The two look somewhat similar to the squat boots that Ugg is famous for.

One style, the Tye, is perforated leather that laces up, while the Sammy is a knit lightweight slip on with foam on the inside.

Past attempts of pushing beyond just boots brought mixed results with some of the attempts being close to the bizarre.

During 2011, Ugg began selling its fashion line Ugg Collection, with wedged and ankle boots made in Italy.

This past fall, it released a hybrid of its boot and its Teva sandals, with wool-lined, calf-high sides with the toe open.

One of Deckers’ activist investors criticized management in June through a letter calling for the company to be sold. The investor, Marcato Capital Management, announced that it would seek to have the entire board of directors upended if not changes were made to the chronic underperformance of Deckers.

Apparel companies that are winter-reliant have tried for years to escape just the cold, but once a label becomes known for keeping people warm breaking free from that is quite challenging.

During the past decade, Canada Goose the maker of down parkas has attempted to expand into seasons other than winter numerous times but none of those efforts was successful.