Skip to main content
Select Source:

Skechers U.S.A. Inc.

Skechers U.S.A. Inc.

228 Manhattan Beach Boulevard
Manhattan Beach, California 90266
U.S.A.
Telephone: (310) 318-3100
Fax: (310) 318-5019
Web site: http://www.skx.com

Public Company
Incorporated: 1992
Employees: 2,977
Sales: $1.2 billion (2006)
Stock Exchanges: New York
Ticker Symbol: SKX
NAIC: 316213 Mens Footwear (Except Athletic) Manufacturing; 316214 Womens Footwear (Except Athletic) Manufacturing

Founded in 1992, Skechers U.S.A. Inc. is one of the fastest-growing footwear companies in the United States, focusing on trendy, casual styles aimed primarily at men and women from the ages of 19 to 40. With 2005 sales surpassing $1 billion, the company designs and markets more than 2,000 different styles of shoes, which are sold in major department stores, the companys web site, and over 150 company-owned stores. Skechers products are also sold in over 100 countries across the globe through a network of over 30 international distributors. The company spends heavily on marketing campaigns and has hired famous pop singers including Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Carrie Underwood, and Ashlee Simpson to promote its products. In 2007, trade magazine Footwear Plus named Skechers Company of the Year for the second consecutive year.

THE COMPANYS BEGINNINGS

In 1990 the hottest-selling shoe brand among young American women was called L.A. Gear, a label created and owned by a veteran of the retail industry named Robert Greenberg. Founded in 1983, L.A. Gear by 1990 was grossing more than $900 million in sales and, with its neon tennis shoes and overtly feminine image, seemed to be an unstoppable and unique presence within the industry. After a series of missteps, however, L.A. Gear took a sudden turn for the worse, and by 1992 Robert Greenberg, along with his son Michael, found himself without a job, forced out of the company he helped to create.

Greenberg was no stranger to the unpredictable vicissitudes of the retail trade, however. The executive began his career in the 1960s selling wigs to beauty shops in Boston and by the next decade he had moved on to importing designer jeans to sell at the department stores Filenes and Jordan Marsh. At the end of the 1970s Greenberg moved to Los Angeles, where he founded a chain of roller skate stores, his first step into the footwear industry. His first big break came in 1982, when Greenberg licensed the image of the film character E.T. to appear on shoelacesa move that netted him $3 million in less than two months. This success gave him lasting clout and recognition within the retail trade, and it was with that revenue that Greenberg founded L.A. Gear.

After Greenbergs departure from L.A. Gear in 1992, he immediately founded Skechers. Although he originally intended to be a distributor of Dr. Martens shoes, a British label made by R. Griggs Ltd., within a year Greenberg began to focus on designing and marketing his own brand. Using the experience he gained through L.A. Gear, Greenberg began marketing Skechers primarily to young, hip consumers, although the focus was this time not on womens athletic wear but on casual, stylish street shoes for men. In addition, although Nike had a firm hold on mens athletic wear, there was no large, well established company anchoring the market for mens street shoes, and Skechers provided Greenberg the opportunity to help create and support a new and burgeoning niche market.

Aside from being the largest distributor for Dr. Martens shoes, Skechers in 1992 also owned and marketed the labels Cross Colours, a brand that helped put urbanwear on the retail map, as well as Karl Kani and So L.A. Although all three of these labels were successful, by 1993 Greenberg saw more financial opportunity in the development of his own label, so he began consolidating his fiscal and creative resources to focus on Skechers. As a result, the labels Karl Kani and So L.A. were discontinued by 1995; Cross Colours was discontinued not long after that and was sold a few years later.

Within a year of Skechers signing of a licensing agreement with R. Griggs Ltd., the makers of Dr. Martens shoes, the two companies had a falling out, with Skechers accusing R. Griggs of failing to deliver on orders for its increasingly popular merchandise. Skechers filed a complaint against R. Griggs for breach of contract, and a complicated array of countersuits ensued. By 1993, only one year after the two companies had formed a partnership, Skechers no longer served as a distributor for the Dr. Martens brand and had to rely on its own label for survival.

Skechers U.S.A. had its first big break under its own label in 1993, with the introduction of a design known as the Chrome Dome. Appealing to both sexes, this shoe was an urban street boot that reflected the increasing popularity of the grunge look among younger consumers: the Chrome Dome shoe was made to look well-worn and scuffed at the heelmuch like the stone-washed, pretorn jeans that were so popular at the timeand presented an image of tough androgyny. The Chrome Dome design proved Skechers to be a company well aware of the quickly changing trends among young consumers, and the label soon was picked up by such stores as Foleys and Nordstrom.

MID-DECADE EXPANSION

By 1995 the two-year-old Skechers was a vibrant, growing company, reflecting the many years of retail expertise of the companys CEO Robert Greenberg as well as that of the companys president, Greenbergs son Michael. In March of that year Skechers was ready to branch out, and it signed licensing agreements with the companies Genova Incorporated and Signal/American to produce casual boys and menswear. Created under the Skechers label, the clothes were intended to appeal to the same customers who bought the companys shoes, with an emphasis on style, wearability, and comfort. The clothes, primarily fleece tops, T-shirts, and jeans, were sold at major national department stores and were produced both overseas and domestically by Genova and Signal/ American.

Two years later, in 1997, Skechers was doing well enough to expand its customer base to overseas markets. That year, the company began selling its footwear in Southeast Asia, where most of Skechers products were made, and in Eastern Europe. Because the company kept a watchful eye on the trends of the youth market, the label sold well internationally from the beginning and by 1998 accounted for 15 percent of the companys sales.

COMPANY PERSPECTIVES

We seek to offer consumers a vast array of fashionable footwear that satisfies their active, casual, dress casual and dress footwear needs.

By 1998, only six years after the companys inception, Skechers had 2,200 accounts, including Genesco Federated, the May Company, Dayton-Hudson, Dillards, Nordstrom, Woolworth Corporation, Foot Action, and Finish Line. The company also had opened more than 30 of its own stores, though it continued to focus on accounts with national department stores for the majority of its revenue. That year, demand for Skechers products was so high the company made the unusual decision to stop opening new accounts altogether, choosing instead to focus on the expansion and quality control of existing accounts. Although the company already had begun to make its mark in womens footwear, the company at this time began to aggressively expand its womenswear line, producing funky, high platform sandals and boots that appealed to teenagers and young, urban women. With the companys new emphasis on womens shoes, as well as its introduction of a childrens line, its design team increased output from 600 styles of shoes to 900 in the span of only one year.

In April 1998 Skechers revealed plans that would place the company in direct competition with such footwear powerhouses as Nike and Reebok. In an aggressive move, the company rented a 54,000-square-foot exhibit space at the World Congress Center in Atlanta, which had been occupied previously by Nike. Promising a new focus on athletic footwear, Skechers utilized that space to showcase a flashy, hip image influenced in equal measure by hip-hop, urbanwear, and sports. The exhibit space occupied by Skechers was the largest space at the center, and the Skechers image was a ubiquitous presence at that years trade show. The company spent $2 million on light shows, dancers, and models wearing new Skechers designs, as well as video screens flashing picture after picture of the Skechers logo.

Interestingly, Nike was nowhere to be seen that year, indicating to some in the industry that there was a shift in emphasis in athletic wear from performance-based shoes to designs that concerned themselves more with style and appearance. Indeed, while Skechers began to produce more athletic shoes, the company made no secret of the fact that it did so not with athletics in mind so much as the fact that athletic shoes were gaining popularity as streetwear.

By decades end Skechers had skyrocketed to a conspicuous prominence within the footwear industry, producing hundreds of casual and trendy styles for men, women, and children. In September 1998 the company was successful enough for Macys to offer the label its own space within the national department stores central New York location. While other, less prominent labels had to compete in Macys shoe department side by side, the Skechers brand was presented in its own small boutique, giving the company a status usually reserved for such brands as Coach and Fendi.

While the trajectory of Skechers sales arched continually upward, the company did have to face some unforeseen problems: with such increased prominence and popularity came copycat labels and designs, the nature of which threatened both the Skechers image and the companys revenue. Along with the companys initial difficulties with R. Griggsa battle that continued into the late 1990sSkechers in 1998 also filed two complaints against the labels Candies and Payless Shoe Source for copying original Skechers designs. By approaching the protection of its label and designs with such aggressive, proactive tactics, Skechers made it clear that it was not only willing to play an innovative role in the retail industry, but was also capable of fighting to keep that role.

MARKETING KNOW-HOW: SKECHERS AT THE END OF THE DECADE

An element intrinsic to the success and rapid growth of the Skechers label was the companys marketing strategy, which was designed in large part by Robert and Michael Greenberg, the father-and-son team behind Skechers. In an interview in Footwear News, Michael Greenberg told Simon Butler, If we spent a billion dollars a year in marketing, it wouldnt be overkill. Theres no limit to creating brand awareness. It is that sentiment that drove the Skechers philosophy, both in terms of marketing and design, from the companys beginning. After decades in the apparel industry, the elder Greenberg was aware that, regardless of the quality or originality of a product, without the right image and ad campaign to sell that product a company would never survive in the relentlessly competitive world of retail. Indeed, a common utterance used by both Greenbergs was the laconic mantra, Unseen, untold, unsold, a phrase that underscores well the aggressive marketing of the Skechers label.

KEY DATES

1992:
Skechers is founded.
1993:
Skechers develops its first successful shoe, the Chrome Dome.
1998:
Skechers enters the field of athletic footwear, taking over Nikes space at the Atlanta trade show.
1999:
Skechers goes public.
2005:
Sales surpass $1 billion.

Aside from using the typical media of print ads in fashion magazines and mens periodicals and, a few years after the companys start, television, Skechers also availed itself of some rather experimental forms of marketing. After the companys success in 1998 at the Atlanta trade show, where Skechers turned the exhibition into more of a nightclub than an exhibit space, the label formed a partnership with Nordstrom and Sprint to develop a promotion aimed directly at teenagers. In 1999, using the phrase, Skechers hooks you up from head to toe, the company offered a free phone card (compliments of Sprint) worth 15 minutes of air time with purchase of any of Skechers shoes from Nordstrom. The promotion, which was followed later that year with a similar offer of a free Motorola pager with purchase, reflected the extent to which the company was willing to go to maintain its appeal to younger consumers. The partnership between those companies and Skechers also emphasized the way in which the retail industry, particularly labels devoted to trend-conscious customers, was increasingly melding itself to the world of technology.

In spring of 1999, ever aware of its customer bases changing tastes, Skechers launched a dressier, high-fashion line of mens shoes called Skechers Collection. The line, priced slightly higher than Skechers more casual styles, was designed to appeal to young, professional but fashion-conscious men, and was slated to be sold through Skechers high-end accounts, such as Nordstrom, Macys, and Foleys.

In June 1999 Skechers was doing well enough to go public, with an initial public offering (IPO) of seven million shares costing $11 each. The IPO raised more than $88 million for the company, with the Greenbergs continuing to own more than 60 percent of the company. After going public the company continued to do well and was able to increase its name recognition through larger, more expansive ad campaigns, the budgets of which required more than 20 percent of Skechers revenue. In an industry notorious for its high turnover and fiercely competitive environment, Skechers skyrocketing success caused some in the trade to speculate over how long such growth could last. With the retail-savvy Greenbergs managing everything from the companys marketing to its design, however, the Skechers label was by decades end a formidable and stable force within the footwear industry.

SKECHERS IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM

Skechers success continued into the year 2000. In fact, the company was among the top five in Business Week magazines 100 Best Small Companies list based on sales and earnings. During 2000, sales increased by 59 percent over the previous year. In the following year, the company strengthened its foothold in the European market with new store openings in Oxford Street, London; Düsseldorf; and Paris. The companys good fortune skidded to a halt however, when the economy faltered after the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. With burgeoning inventory levels, the company was forced to cut its workforce by 5 percent and shutter its mail-order business. Online sales were stopped temporarily and the pace of new store openings slowed. The next year, the company found itself in a legal battle with Britney Spears. The company had signed the pop singer to promote a line of roller skates under the Britney 4 Wheelers name. Spears filed a $1.5 million suit again the company in 2002 claiming Skechers had failed to make certain payments. The company countersued for breach of contract. Both parties eventually settled in 2003.

With sales of footwear languishing, Skechers began to eye branded apparel as a possible profit booster. As such, the company signed a licensing agreement with Paul Davril Inc. in 2003 to create a line of womens and mens sportswear. By 2004, the company also had deals with Signature Apparel Group to manufacturer underwear and sleepwear for young adults, United Legwear Co. to produce childrens socks, and Christina America to manufacturer swimwear. It also launched three new brands including Unltd. by Marc Ecko, Rhino Red, and 310 Motoring.

Skechers business model proved strong. Indeed, the company regained its footing and by the end of 2005, sales surpassed $1 billion. The companys designer lines, Michelle K and Mark Nason, proved popular and were sold in high-end department stores including Nordstrom and Macys. The company also launched two new womens lines that year, Kitson footwear and Siren by Marc Nason. In 2006, Skechers partnered with Zoo York to develop and market Zoo York skate footwear. At this time, American Idol Carrie Underwood signed on to be Skechers spokesperson. In July 2006, the company tapped Ashlee Simpson to head its marketing campaign.

In 2007, trade magazine Footwear Plus named Skechers Company of the Year for the second consecutive year. With sales and profits on the rise, Skechers appeared to be well positioned for future growth. When asked about his companys $1 billion milestone in a February 2006 Footwear News article Robert Greenberg replied, A billion is a number that is not imagined that often in the shoe business. Its a landing on a stairway where you can look around and survey the world and see what youve accomplished.

Rachel H. Martin
Updated, Christina Stansell Weaver

PRINCIPAL SUBSIDIARIES

Skechers By Mail, Inc.; Skechers U.S.A., Inc. II; Skechers USA Ltd. (United Kingdom); Skechers USA France SAS; Skechers USA Deutschland GmbH (Germany); Skechers S.a.r.l. (Switzerland); Skechers Collection LLC; Skechers Sport LLC; Duncan Investments LLC; Yale Investments LLC; Skechers International (Switzerland); Skechers International II (Switzerland); Skechers USA Iberia S.L. (Spain); Skechers EDC SPRL (Belgium); Skechers USA Benelux B.V. (Netherlands); Skechers USA Canada Inc.; Skechers USA Italia S.r.l. (Italy); 310 Global Brands, Inc.; Sports Brand Corporation; Skechers Malaysia Sdn Bhd; Skechers Singapore Pte. LTD; Skechers (Thailand) Ltd.; Skechers Do Brasil Calcados LTDA (Brazil); Skechers Japan YK.

PRINCIPAL COMPETITORS

Nike, Inc.; R. Griggs Ltd.; The Timberland Company.

FURTHER READING

Butler, Simon, Family Matters, Footwear News, October 13, 1998, p. 10.

Ebenkamp, Becky, Skechers Dials Up Teens via Spring, Nordstrom, Brandweek, January 18, 1999, p. 8.

Flass, Rebecca, Beyond Britney: Skechers Licensing Deal Shift Focus to Adults, Los Angeles Business Journal, June 28, 2004.

Greenberg, Julee, Skechers Licenses Sportswear, Womens Wear Daily, December 10, 2003.

Heiderstadt, Donna, Robert Greenberg Still Shifting Gears, Footwear News, October 4, 1993, p. 4.

Malone, Scott, Skechers Takes Candies to Court in Piracy Charge, Footwear News, June 29, 1998, p. 4.

McAllister, Robert, Michael Greenberg Distributing Dr. Martens Line, Footwear News, December 7, 1992, p. 17.

McKinney, Melonee, Super Show Kicks Up Its Heels: Young Mens Sports Apparel Gets Inspiration From Footwear, Daily News Record, February 15, 1999, p. 8.

Melville, Greg, Skechers Takes Over Nike Super Show Site, Footwear News, April 13, 1998, p. 2.

Newman, Eric, Skechers Continues Winning Streak, Footwear News, October 30, 2006.

Niemi, Wayne, The Next Chapter: Skechers Big Plans Post $1B Milestone, Footwear News, February 27, 2006.

Palazzo, Anthony, Betting on Continued Growth, Skechers Left in Inventory Bind, Los Angeles Business Journal, October 29, 2001.

Skechers Receives Company of the Year Award, Business Wire, February 1, 2007.

Solnik, Claude, S Is for Success, Footwear News, December 7, 1998, p. 28.

Taub, Daniel, Former L.A. Gear Chief Puts on New Shoe, Los Angeles Business Journal, August 10, 1998, p. 3.

Wertheim, Jon, Nike, Shmike: Little-Known Skechers Enters the Sneaker Wars, Sports Illustrated, February 22, 1999, p. R6.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Skechers U.S.A. Inc.." International Directory of Company Histories. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Skechers U.S.A. Inc.." International Directory of Company Histories. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/books/politics-and-business-magazines/skechers-usa-inc-0

"Skechers U.S.A. Inc.." International Directory of Company Histories. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/books/politics-and-business-magazines/skechers-usa-inc-0

Skechers U.S.A. Inc.

Skechers U.S.A. Inc.

228 Manhattan Beach Boulevard,
200
Manhattan Beach, California 90266
U.S.A.
Telephone: (310) 318-3100
Fax: (310) 3185019
Web site: http://www.skechers.com

Public Company
Incorporated: 1992
Employees: 863
Sales: $372.7 million (1998) Stock Exchanges: New York
Ticker Symbol: SKX
NAIC: 316213 Mens Footwear (Except Athletic)Manufacturing; 316214 Womens Footwear (ExceptAthletic) Manufacturing

Founded in 1992, Skechers U.S.A. Inc. is one of the fastest growing footwear companies in the United States, focusing on trendy, casual styles aimed primarily at men and women from the ages of 19 to 40. With 1998 sales at almost $400 million, the company designs and markets more than 900 different styles of shoes, which are sold in major department stores such as Macys and Nordstrom as well as in 38 of the companys own freestanding boutiques. Skecherss shoes are produced overseas at factories in China, Mexico, Brazil, and Romania, which allows the company to keep the prices of its designs below those of its competitors, and are designed to appeal to younger, active, fashion-conscious consumers. Skechers devotes much of its creative energy and revenue to flashy, highly visible ad campaignsa strategy that has helped the company grow within a matter of years to a multimillion dollar business.

The Companys Beginnings: The Early 1990s

In 1990 the hottest selling shoe brand among young American women was called L.A. Gear, a label created and owned by a veteran of the retail industry named Robert Greenberg. Founded in 1983, L.A. Gear by 1990 was grossing more than $900 million in sales and, with its neon tennis shoes and overtly feminine image, seemed to be an unstoppable and unique presence within the industry. After a series of missteps, however, L.A. Gear took a sudden turn for the worse, and by 1992 Robert Greenberg, along with his son Michael, found himself without a job, forced out of the company he helped to create.

Greenberg was no stranger to the unpredictable vicissitudes of the retail trade, however: The executive began his career in the 1960s selling wigs to beauty shops in Boston and by the next decade he had moved on to importing designer jeans to sell at the department stores Filenes and Jordan Marsh. At the end of the 1970s Greenberg moved to Los Angeles, where he founded a chain of roller skate stores, his first entré into the footwear industry. His first big break came in 1982, when Greenberg licensed the image of the film character E.T. to appear on shoelacesa move that netted him $3 million in less than two months. This success gave him lasting clout and recognition within the retail trade, and it was with that revenue that Greenberg founded L.A. Gear.

After Greenbergs departure from L.A. Gear in 1992, he immediately founded Skechers. Originally intended to be a distributor of Dr. Martens shoes, a British label made by R. Griggs Ltd., Greenberg within a year began to focus on designing and marketing his own brand. Utilizing the experience he gained through L.A. Gear, Greenberg began marketing Skechers primarily to young, hip consumers, although unlike L.A. Gear the focus was this time not on womens athletic wear but on casual, stylish street shoes for men. In addition, although Nike had a firm hold on mens athletic wear, there was no large, well established company against which Skechers had to compete in the market for mens street shoes, and this provided Greenberg the opportunity to help create and support a new and burgeoning niche market.

Aside from being the largest distributor for Dr. Martens shoes, Skechers in 1992 also owned and marketed the labels Cross Colours, a brand that helped put urbanwear on the retail map, as well as Karl Kani and So.... L.A. Although all three of these labels were successful, by 1993 Greenberg saw more financial opportunity in the development of his own label, and so he began consolidating his fiscal and creative resources to focus on Skechers. As a result, the labels Karl Kani and So.... L.A. were discontinued by 1995; Cross Colours was discontinued not long after that and was sold a few years later.

Within a year of Skecherss signing of a licensing agreement with R. Griggs Ltd., the makers of Dr. Martens shoes, the two companies had a falling out, with Skechers accusing R. Griggs of failing to deliver on orders for its increasingly popular merchandise. Skechers filed a complaint against R. Griggs for breach of contract, and a complicated array of countersuits ensued. By 1993, only one year after the two companies had formed a partnership, Skechers no longer served as a distributor for the Dr. Martens brand and had to rely on its own label for survival.

Skechers U.S.A. had its first big break under its own label in 1993, with the introduction of a design known as the Chrome Dome. Appealing to both sexes, this shoe was an urban street boot that reflected the increasing popularity of the grunge look among younger consumers: the Chrome Dome shoe was made to look well-worn and scuffed at the heelmuch like the stone-washed, pre-torn jeans that were so popular at the timeand presented an image of tough androgyny. The Chrome Dome design proved Skechers to be a company well aware of the quickly changing trends among young consumers, and the label soon was picked up by such stores as Foleys and Nordstrom.

Expansion: The Middle to Late 1990s

By 1995 the two-year-old Skechers was a vibrant, growing company, reflecting the many years of retail expertise of the companys CEO Robert Greenberg as well as that of the companys president, Greenbergs son Michael. In March of that year Skechers was ready to branch out, and it signed licensing agreements with the companies Genova Incorporated and Signal/American to produce casual boys and menswear. Created under the Skechers label, the clothes were intended to appeal to the same customers who bought the companys shoes, with an emphasis on style, wearability, and comfort. The clothes, primarily fleece tops, t-shirts, and jeans, were sold at major national department stores and were produced both overseas and domestically by Genova and Signal/American.

Two years later, in 1997, Skechers was doing well enough to expand its customer base to overseas markets. That year, the company began selling its footwear in Southeast Asia, where most of Skecherss products were made, and in Eastern Europe. Because the company kept a watchful eye on the trends of the youth market, the label sold well internationally from the beginning and by 1998 accounted for 15 percent of the companys sales.

By 1998, only six years after the companys inception, Skechers had 2,200 accounts, including Genesco Federated, the May Company, Dayton-Hudson, Dillards, Nordstrom, Wool-worth Corporation, Foot Action, and Finish Line. The company also had opened more than 30 of its own stores, though it continued to focus on accounts with national department stores for the majority of its revenue. That year, demand for Skecherss products was so high the company made the unusual decision to stop opening new accounts altogether, choosing instead to focus on the expansion and quality control of existing accounts. Although the company already had begun to make its mark in womens footwear, the company at this time began to aggressively expand its womenswear line, producing funky, high platform sandals and boots that appealed to teenagers and young, urban women. With the companys new emphasis on womens shoes, as well as its introduction of a childrens line, its design team increased output from 600 styles of shoes to 900 in the span of only one year.

In April 1998 Skechers revealed plans that would place the company in direct competition with such footwear powerhouses as Nike and Reebok. In an aggressive move, the company rented a 54,000-square-foot exhibit space at the World Congress Center in Atlanta, which had been occupied previously by Nike. Promising a new focus on athletic footwear, Skechers utilized that space to showcase a flashy, hip image influenced in equal measure by hip-hop, urbanwear, and sports. The exhibit space occupied by Skechers was the largest space at the Center, and the Skechers image was a ubiquitous presence at that years trade show. The company spent $2 million on light shows, dancers, and models wearing new Skechers designs, as well as video screens flashing picture after picture of the Skechers logo. Interestingly, Nike was nowhere to be seen that year, indicating to some in the industry that there was a shift in emphasis in athletic wear from performance-based shoes to designs that concerned themselves more with style and appearance. Indeed, while Skechers began to produce more athletic shoes, the company made no secret of the fact that it did so not with athletics in mind so much as the fact that athletic shoes were becoming more popular as streetwear.

By decades end Skechers had skyrocketed to a conspicuous prominence within the footwear industry, producing hundreds of casual and trendy styles for men, women, and children. In September of 1998 the company was successful enough for Macys to offer the label its own space within the national department stores central New York location. While other, less prominent labels had to compete in Macys shoe department side by side, the Skechers brand was presented in its own small boutique, giving the company a status usually reserved for such brands as Coach and Fendi.

Company Perspectives:

The Companys objective is to become a leading source of contemporary casual and active footwear while ensuring the longevity of both the Company and the Skechers brand name through controlled, well managed growth. The Company strives to achieve this objective by developing and offering a balanced assortment of basic and fashionable merchandise across a wide spectrum of product categories and styles, while maintaining a diversified, low-cost sourcing base and controlling the growth of its distribution channels.

While the trajectory of Skecherss sales arched continually upward, the company did have to face some unforeseen problems: with such increased prominence and popularity came copycat labels and designs, the nature of which threatened both the Skechers image and the companys revenue. Along with the companys initial difficulties with R. Griggsa battle that continued into the late 1990sSkechers in 1998 also filed two complaints against the labels Candies and Payless Shoe Source for copying original Skechers designs. By approaching the protection of its label and designs with such aggressive, proactive tactics, Skechers made it clear that it was not only willing to play an innovative role in the retail industry, but was also capable of fighting to keep that role.

Marketing Know-How: Skechers at Millenniums End

An element intrinsic to the success and rapid growth of the Skechers label was the companys marketing strategy, which was designed in large part by Robert and Michael Greenberg, the father-and-son team behind Skechers. In an interview in Footwear News, Michael Greenberg told Simon Butler, If we spent a billion dollars a year in marketing, it wouldnt be overkill. Theres no limit to creating brand awareness. It is that sentiment that drove the Skechers philosophy, both in terms of marketing and design, from the companys beginning. After decades in the apparel industry, the elder Greenberg was aware that, regardless of the quality or originality of a product, without the right image and ad campaign to sell that product a company would never survive in the relentlessly competitive world of retail. Indeed, a common utterance used by both Greenbergs was the laconic mantra, Unseen, untold, unsold, a phrase that underscores well the aggressive marketing of the Skechers label.

Aside from using the typical media of print ads in fashion magazines and mens periodicals and, a few years after the companys start, television, Skechers also availed itself of some rather experimental forms of marketing. After the companys success in 1998 at the Atlanta trade show, where Skechers turned the exhibition into more of a nightclub than an exhibit space, the label formed a partnership with Nordstrom and Sprint to develop a promotion aimed directly at teenagers. In 1999, using the phrase, Skechers hooks you up from head to toe, the company offered a free phone card (compliments of Sprint) worth 15 minutes of air time with purchase of any of Skechers shoes from Nordstrom. The promotion, which was followed later that year with a similar offer of a free Motorola pager with purchase, reflected the extent to which the company was willing to go to maintain its appeal to younger consumers. The partnership between those companies and Skechers also emphasized the way in which the retail industry, particularly labels devoted to trend-conscious customers, was increasingly melding itself to the world of technology.

In spring of 1999, ever aware of its customer bases changing tastes, Skechers launched a dressier, high-fashion line of mens shoes called Skechers Collection. The line, priced slightly higher than Skecherss more casual styles, was designed to appeal to young, professional but fashion-conscious men, and was slated to be sold through Skecherss high-end accounts, such as Nordstrom, Macys, and Foleys.

In June 1999 Skechers was doing well enough to go public, with an initial public offering of seven million shares costing $11 each. The IPO raised more than $88 million for the company, with the Greenbergs continuing to own more than 60 percent of the company. After going public the company continued to do well and was able to increase its name recognition through larger, more expansive ad campaigns, the budgets of which required more than 20 percent of Skecherss revenue. In an industry notorious for its high turnover and fiercely competitive environment, Skecherss skyrocketing success has caused some in the trade to speculate over how long such growth can last. With the retail-savvy Greenbergs managing everything from the companys marketing to its design, however, the Skechers label was by decades end becoming a formidable and stable force within the footwear industry.

Principal Competitors

Nike, Inc.; R. Griggs Ltd.; The Timberland Company.

Key Dates:

1992:
Skechers is founded.
1993:
Skechers develops its first successful shoe, the Chrome Dome.
1998:
Skechers enters the field of athletic footwear, taking over Nikes space at the Atlanta trade show.
1999:
Skechers goes public.

Further Reading

Butler, Simon, Family Matters, Footwear News, October 13, 1998, p. 10.

Ebenkamp, Becky, Skechers Dials Up Teens Via Spring, Nordstrom, Brandweek, January 18, 1999, p. 8.

Heiderstadt, Donna, Robert Greenberg Still Shifting Gears, Footwear News, October 4, 1993, p. 4.

Malone, Scott, Skechers Takes Candies to Court in Piracy Charge, Footwear News, June 29, 1998, p. 4.

McAllister, Robert, Michael Greenberg Distributing Dr. Martens Line, Footwear News, December 7, 1992, p. 17.

McKinney, Melonee, Super Show Kicks Up Its Heels: Young Mens Sports Apparel Gets Inspiration From Footwear, Daily News Record, February 15, 1999, p. 8.

Melville, Greg, Skechers Takes Over Nike Super Show Site, Footwear News, April 13, 1998, p. 2.

Solnik, Claude, S Is for Success, Footwear News, December 7, 1998, p. 28.

Taub, Daniel, Former L.A. Gear Chief Puts on New Shoe, Los Angeles Business Journal, August 10, 1998, p. 3.

Wertheim, Jon, Nike, Shmike: Little-Known Skechers Enters the Sneaker Wars, Sports Illustrated, February 22, 1999, p. R6.

Rachel H. Martin

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Skechers U.S.A. Inc.." International Directory of Company Histories. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Skechers U.S.A. Inc.." International Directory of Company Histories. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/books/politics-and-business-magazines/skechers-usa-inc

"Skechers U.S.A. Inc.." International Directory of Company Histories. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/books/politics-and-business-magazines/skechers-usa-inc