Crocs Europe has officially presented its new sales agency for France, GPG Company, a French group with a significant portfolio of other footwear brands such as Dr. Martens, Replay, Gant and Bronx. The deal will take effect on Jan. 2, though neither company would comment on its duration. Crocs will be included in GPG Company’s new sports and outdoor division, called Off-Limits, which is also representing brands such as Ocean Minded, a recent acquisition of Crocs, as well as Keen and Trezeta.
Crocs have been available in France since 2006 through another French distributor specializing in the sports sector, Loisirs Distribution, which now represents a Swiss brand of sports shoes, SpringBoost. GPG looks to better position Crocs’ multiple lines in the market, selling them in several types of shops, from big chains for sports, outdoor, footwear and fashion, to smaller specialized stores like surf shops or shops in skiing areas. GPG Company also plans to hit other niches, such as retailers specializing in gardening, work safety, restoration and health services, including pharmacies. The French group, founded and managed by Patrick Genestier, a former distributor of Diesel Footwear in France, will also work on various marketing campaigns as Crocs products will be sold to different target markets. For the moment no concept stores are planned for the French market.
Crocs’ increasingly extended footwear line now includes clogs, sandals, flip-flops, sneakers, boat shoes, boots, women’s shoes (both with and without heels) and colorful children’s shoes. It keeps on combining new materials, such as cotton, nylon and genuine leather, with its patented Croslite material. Its new lines of apparel and accessories lines are already sold in various European countries. Crocs’ apparel will be made available to French consumers in Winter 2009.
In the meantime, Crocs is opening its first store in Madrid and has appointed a new member to the board. He is Peter Jacobi, the former president of chief operating officer of Levi Strauss, the jeans company. On top of this, the founder and former chief executive of Crocs has bought Crocs Canada with a group of private investors. George Boedecker bought the company, which was originally called Foam Creations, in 2004 when he was running Crocs. He left Crocs in 2005. Located in Québec, its factory used an EVA injection process developed by Italy’s Finproject. Crocs Canada’s new owners have bought the assets, the manufacturing facilities and licensing rights for Crocs’ polymer foam, but said they have no plans to make footwear. Crocs stopped making its famous plastic clogs at the plant last April, and since then has used the 2,790-square-meter facility to make kayak seats and parts for hot tubs from its foam material. In its heyday, the plant made about 5 million pairs of shoes a year. The new company will be called Foam Creations 2008.