May 29, 2021

Clarks sets sights on challenging Dr Martens after revamp

British footwear group Clarks lost its way under previous managers, but has the "Brand and relevancy" to recover and eventually rival Dr Martens and Birkenstock, according to its chief executive. Clarks, which sold more than 40m pairs of shoes worldwide last year, was founded by Cyrus and James Clark in 1825. The transaction that installed Herrero as chief executive and executive chair valued the footwear group's equity at about £200m. By contrast, bootmaker Dr Martens is capitalised at more than £4.5bn while Nasdaq-listed Crocs is worth $6.4bn and German sandal-maker Birkenstock was recently sold for €4bn. Herrero said such blockbuster valuations were "Great news for the sector" and argued that with a presence in 70 countries and endorsements ranging from footballer Raheem Sterling to Jamaican singer Koffee, Clarks offered more than its "Sensible shoes" reputation suggests. "We will play to our strengths with consumers in providing comfortable casual shoes, continuing to use sub-branding to differentiate product propositions. I want Clarks to be accessible to all consumers around the world," he said. "We are very profitable in China but we can put the company into another dimension there," Herrero said, adding that the Clarks brand was seen as aspirational and premium by Chinese consumers.

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